Here at findaWEALTHMANAGER.com we help people in a whole range of different situations and stages of life. Sometimes our clients have very straightforward requirements and simply need some investment management advice. At the other end of the spectrum, we are also approached by clients who have incredibly complex financial situations and require a wealth manager to play a far more integrated role in their affairs.
The more complex the situation the harder it can be to find a firm that ticks all the boxes, and the higher the stakes with regards to finding the right partner to manage your wealth. So, whether you need complex multi-jurisdictional tax advice or the management of assets in a number of different geographies, access to Lombard lending or the ability to leverage an asset such as a private jet or a yacht, we can apply our in-depth knowledge of the industry to remove the time-consuming task of trying to establish which wealth manager is the ‘right’ wealth manager.
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An international client based in Germany needed help with a complex matter involving their business and the succession planning inherent in all family-owned firms. The firm provided machinery for the packaging industry, having been established in the 1980s, and the client now needed to secure its future by helping the management team plot a forward course.
The client’s family had a number of considerations including equity transfer in the company from the founder to the new team. They were also keen to secure funding for the firms future growth after identifying a complementary business that it would seek to acquire.
Initially we had an in-depth conversation with the client about the different elements of their situation which required attention. Through our conversations, we helped the client establish his priorities, which in turn shaped our search for wealth managers who were best suited to assist.
We proposed a variety of different solutions, all viable, but all subtly different from each other. We discussed the firms’ individual merits and the different philosophies they adopted; we then discussed the ‘personality’ of the brands and what kind of personalities they tended to employ. Finally, we agreed on three internationally-focused Private Banks, all of whom had strong Investment Banks which had specific experience in dealing with small and medium-sized enterprises. All were knowledgable in regard to the specific challenges involved in growing a small firm and had demonstrated success in overcoming those challenges.
We arranged for local, bilingual staff from the three institutions to make contact with the client. This was important as the client’s father spoke little English and needed documents to be provided in German for his consideration.
We helped the client assess the three firms in the context of their requirements and after some very detailed due diligence the client began a relationship with one of the firms. So far the relationship is prospering, as is their family business, with the help of their chosen wealth manager.
We were recently approached by a client who was a UK national, living in Abu Dhabi. He has been based in the Middle East for 15 years, running his own business, which had been very successful. His thoughts were turning towards moving back to the UK to spend his retirement close to family, but he didn’t know where to start with respect to his personal finances.
This client had property in Abu Dhabi and also in the UK. He had a portfolio of stocks and shares to the value of $2m, which he had been managing himself, a final salary pension scheme from a previous UK employer and $1.5m cash due from the sale of his business in Abu Dhabi. By any reasonable measure this client had achieved great financial success and was in a very strong position as he approached retirement. However, when we initially spoke he was pretty exasperated. He had received some very poor advice from a Financial Advisor in the UAE, which, unfortunately, in that unregulated environment is not at all uncommon. He has been lucky in the sense that he had only lost a small sum of money, but now he was understandably sceptical. He had decided he wanted to engage a UK firm but had found it virtually impossible to identify which firms had the expertise he would need or the services he required. In addition to this, he was unsure which firms would be ‘interested’ in him since he was unclear on minimum account sizes across the industry.
We started off by talking about the different ‘types’ of firm in the industry – this can basically be broken down into three categories: IFAs, Investment Managers and Private Banks. Fortunately, we have a great eBook on this topic so he was able to read that offline to give some context to our later discussions. Once he understood what the market ‘looked like’ we started to drill down into what services he was looking for. He knew he needed tax advice to ensure that he was being sensible when repatriating assets. Much like all of us, this client was not keen on the idea of a big tax bill, but he was even less keen on the idea of a big fine, so he wanted to make sure he was ahead of the curve. He had also decided he wanted to hand over the management of his investment portfolio to a wealth manager so he was looking for a good investment track record. Finally, he wanted to gift some money to his children and he wanted to take advice on how best to do that.
The client and I agreed that he was best suited to a firm with a broad service offering as he wasn’t minded to act as the ‘lynch pin’ between tax advisors, financial planners and investment managers. He wanted as many services as possible to be provided ‘under one roof’. We narrowed our search down to broad platform investment managers (ie investment managers who also provide in-house tax and financial planning advice) and private banks and ultimately settled on three firms that represented a good ‘spread’ in the industry: one broad platform investment manager, one small UK private bank and one global private bank. In my experience it is important to look in every relevant ‘direction’ when looking for a wealth manager for the first time. It is only through considering a firm in detail and speaking to them about specifics that one is able to properly assess their suitability.
This client had lengthy conversations with all three firms and through those interactions decided he actually preferred the profile of an investment manager with a broad service offering. He found the scale of the organisation struck a nice balance between being large enough to be credible and small enough to be personal. Based on the feedback he gave me, we identified another similar firm that represented a good comparison. The client met with both firms during a trip back to the UK and they both put together detailed proposals. He initially found it difficult to compare their respective fees as they had different charging models – this is something we see a lot so we have some great resources to help on this front. Ultimately he decided to initially split his assets between the two firms and re-evaluate in 3-5 years with a view to consolidating at that stage.
The wealth management industry is opaque,
and difficult to navigate. We make it easy for you to cut through the complexity. We know what each firm does, and what each firm is really good at.