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Lee Dooley, Managing Director, explains how Tilney Bestinvest came to have comprehensive coverage of the UK regions and why the firm’s broad offering means it can cater to all kinds of investors.

The amalgamated firm, Tilney Bestinvest was ‘born’ this year. Can you tell our users a little about the history of the two firms and how they came together? What kind of regional coverage and expertise is the result of the merger?

The Tilney firm began life in 1836 as a stocks and shares dealership named Thomas Tinley & Sons. The company continued to grow, enduring the struggles of World War II and the Wall Street Crash, and by the 1960s had expanded to offer additional research and investment brokering services. Bestinvest was launched in 1986 and went from strength to strength over the following two decades, making several acquisitions and launching our investment management service in the process.

August 2014 saw the merging of the two businesses under the Tilney Bestinvest name. The result of the merger was a nationwide investment and wealth management service provided by nearly 400 financial experts operating out of 40 regional locations. This wide network of offices has allowed us to offer high-quality and great-value bespoke wealth management solutions to clients across the whole of the UK.

Although you will obviously have a very diverse client base, can you describe what a ‘typical’ client of Tilney Bestinvest looks like? What stage of their life are they typically at and what are they trying to achieve with their wealth?

Here at Tilney Bestinvest there is no such thing as a typical client! We treat each of our clients on an individual basis, whether they are entering the world of investments for the first time or are simply looking to make their pension savings last as they approach retirement.

We can do this because we operate a unique business model that caters to the needs of most people, regardless of their financial goals. For example, our low-cost Online Investment Service is ideal for clients who prefer to manage their own investments, whereas the Investment Advisory Service offers clients the option to manage their assets with ongoing advice and investment ideas from one of our qualified investment advisers.

Some clients will delegate all of the day-to-day management of their investments to one of our experts using the Investment Management service, whereas others work exclusively with our team of qualified wealth managers – whose role is to help clients by defining their financial goals and developing an investment strategy to reach them.

Tilney Bestinvest offers investment advisory, investment management and financial planning services. Do clients tend to engage first with the firm through one of these strands over others? Do clients tend to move through the offering or mix the services they take up?

There is no simple answer to this question, as it depends entirely on the individual needs of the client. We tend to find that every client engages with us in a different way, and we will always offer the services that are most appropriate to their goals and circumstances.

Quite often our clients will approach us asking for advice on investing a particular lump sum, after which another life event may make them reconsider their overall financial situation. At this point our wealth managers are on hand to discuss their requirements and develop a robust financial strategy for their future.

On the other hand, it is not uncommon for clients to meet with one of our financial experts with an overall goal in mind – like saving for retirement. Because our wealth managers and investment experts work together closely, the client may then be introduced to one of our investment management services to help them achieve their financial goals.

How does Tilney Bestinvest go about devising investment strategies and building portfolios which suit each individual client’s profile and needs? What can you say about the firm’s risk-profiling and monitoring processes?

The process usually begins with a discussion about the client’s circumstances and requirements, including their tolerance for risk, investment time horizon and overall financial goals. Once we have done so, our team of investment professionals can begin developing a portfolio that will deliver the required returns while remaining in line with these criteria.

In order to do so, we use strategic asset allocation models devised and reviewed by our Asset Allocation Committee. This senior team of research professionals regularly review the outlook for world markets and forecasts for individual asset classes, creating and managing models that we then use as a framework for the portfolio construction process. To ensure their individual requirements are met, each client’s portfolio is then further diversified across asset classes, geographical regions, sectors, fund managers and individual securities.

We then monitor these underlying investments to ensure each our clients’ portfolios remains in line with their objectives in the long term. We use our own proprietary systems to continually assess market volatility and review the level of risk we are taking, taking the necessary action to ensure the continued suitability of the investments and keeping our clients informed of any changes that we make.

What is distinctive about Tilney Bestinvest, either in terms of its investment process or its manner of servicing clients?

As mentioned before, we have a unique business model that caters to all kinds of investors – regardless of how confident they are in their investing ability or how involved they’d like to be in the management of their investments. Whether our clients want to make their own investment decisions, invest with the guidance of an adviser or delegate all responsibility to one of our discretionary investment managers, they stand to benefit from the same high levels of service. Our clients have frequently voted for us in a range of prestigious awards, like those run by the Financial Times and Investors Chronicle. We are proud to have won a wide range of their most highly-sought-after awards, and continue to do so.

In fact, this high level of service is another distinctive feature of the Tilney Bestinvest brand. Not only do we regularly review feedback from our clients, but we also employ some of the most highly-qualified wealth managers and investment professionals in the UK to ensure we stay at the top of our game.

Every one of our investment advisers is trained to CISI Level 6, a qualification far surpassing the minimum currently set by the Financial Conduct Authority (Level 4, which was brought in under the Retail Distribution Review reforms). On top of this, a majority of our wealth managers have also reached Qualified Financial Planner status, meaning they are well equipped to help our clients with anything  from saving for a child’s university fees to protecting their assets so they can be passed on to future generations in a tax-efficient manner.

How does Tilney Bestinvest help clients engage more effectively with the management of their wealth? Do you help clients with investment education and research for example?

The amount of help we offer depends entirely on how much the client wishes to be involved in the management and reviewing of their investments. For example, those clients taking a less active role will receive regular but brief summaries of market and economic conditions, as well as ongoing valuations of their portfolio. On the other hand, our investment professionals will supply a full range of detailed communications for those clients who would like an in-depth understanding of their investment strategy, asset allocation and portfolio construction going forward.

On top of this, we regularly produce factsheets and articles that inform our clients of any recent or relevant developments within the financial landscape. Many Tilney Bestinvest clients receive the latest insights from our Chief Investment Officer and his team of researchers, who produce fresh and insightful content in the form of asset allocation changes, geographical and sector-specific updates, and the launch of new funds, to name but a few.

Our team of wealth managers plays a similar role, producing informative guides that are relevant to the interests of our clients and designed to help them meet their financial goals. These include the likes of tax-efficient investments, retirement planning and the recent changes to pension rules.