Bringing Together the Best of British and Swiss Investment Management

Bordier UK is a London-based asset manager backed by a venerable Swiss private bank. Here, Executive Chairman Jamie Berry explains why independence and having no products of its own to sell are fundamental to the firm’s ethos.

What is Bordier UK’s history and how does it stand now?

Bordier UK - Jamie Berry

The origins of Bordier UK are in Berry Asset Management, a business that I set up in 1981. We have been dedicated to serving private clients ever since.

Bordier & Cie first acquired a stake in the firm in 2001, and now own the business, so we have grown up together over a long period.

As part of the Bordier Group, we manage circa £9.7bn around the globe and employ approximately 270 people.

Who is your typical client? What is their stage of life and what are they trying to achieve?

As you would expect, we look after a very diverse range of clients. They include individuals of all ages and often their pensions, families, trusts, charities and livery companies – not just in the UK, but overseas too. We are able to offer a full service including, if needed, more general wealth planning. Through Bordier & Cie in Switzerland, we can also offer loans secured on investment portfolios [see here for more about Lombard loans].

We have a wide range of risk-profiled strategies, but when it’s all boiled down, most clients want to see their money grow, ahead of inflation, with no nasty surprises

We have a wide range of risk-profiled strategies, but when it’s all boiled down, most clients want to see their money grow, ahead of inflation, with no nasty surprises. Clients in retirement will often be in what I would call income as well as capital drawdown, and we help to manage this process seamlessly.

How would you describe Bordier UK’s investment ethos and risk management approach?

Although we are part of a Swiss private bank, we operate entirely independently and have our own Investment Committee headed up by our Chief Investment Officer, Mark Robinson. He and I have worked together here for 24 years, so we have seen all parts of the cycle, as have most of the elder members of the team!

We also manage no funds of our own, which we think is important: you won’t find Bordier in-house funds in your portfolio, because we don’t have any

We have a variety of risk-graded strategies to suit most investors, and also offer a lower-cost, hybrid passive service. We use funds in our portfolios because this is the best way to gain access to the best talent in the industry. We were pioneers in manager selection almost 40 years ago, and it’s what we still do. We also manage no funds of our own, which we think is important: you won’t find Bordier in-house funds in your portfolio, because we don’t have any.  In addition, we “eat our own cooking” – many senior people, including me, have our own money invested by the firm.

How does Bordier UK go about devising investment strategies and building portfolios which suit each client’s risk-profile and financial goals?

We determine your risk appetite in several ways. Some of this will include formulaic testing, but for us, nothing really beats sitting down with you and talking about it in plain, non-jargon English. This industry has a tendency to blind investors with science; we don’t.  We also revisit risk every time we meet with you, and compile an annual guide to the risks and suitability of different strategies, which helps many clients to understand this whole topic better.

We determine your risk appetite in several ways. Some of this will include formulaic testing, but for us, nothing really beats sitting down with you and talking about it in plain, non-jargon English​

How would you describe Bordier UK’s approach to servicing clients?

All our clients enjoy a lead and a shadow manager, so two experienced professionals will get to know you and what you want. Our managers are actual investment professionals, not so-called relationship managers, and not salesmen either. We believe that you want to speak to the actual manager of your money, not a go-between.  In many cases, we are now looking after third-generation clients in London, so are totally familiar with growing with our clients and their children over time.

Our managers are actual investment professionals, not so-called relationship managers, and not salesmen either. We believe that you want to speak to the actual manager of your money, not a go-between

How does Bordier UK help clients engage more effectively with the management of their wealth?

Clients have access online with daily updates, for those who want to follow things closely. Like many firms, we send out regular investment updates, but we try to go much further than this.

In addition to our risk and suitability guide, we have an annual Investment Conference in London for our clients, which is very successful. It includes not just speakers from Bordier, but also other experts in their field. Last year we looked at the outlook for residential property and posed the question, “Can you afford to live to 100?”.

We also offer one-day intensive workshops which are aimed mainly at our clients’ children of university age – it teaches them about finance, and offers a taster of our industry.

What else is distinctive about Bordier UK?

We are unusual compared to many of our competitors in that we have no external shareholders – this is a family-owned business that can trace its roots back 175 years. This means that we are able to take a genuinely long-term view – in exactly the same way that our clients do.

Having no products of our own to sell and being independent is of utmost importance to us. Our clients are at the very epicentre of every single thing that we do.  At partner level in Geneva, there is unlimited personal liability; be in no doubt, this helps to concentrate the mind.

We are unusual compared to many of our competitors in that we have no external shareholders – this is a family-owned business that can trace its roots back 175 years

If you would like to start a conversation with Bordier UK, please get in touch with the findaWEALTHMANAGER.com team HERE.

Find Your Wealth's Paradise

We make the best advisors easy for you to access

Start Now

Find Your Wealth's Paradise

We make the best advisors easy for you to access

Start Now