Brexit poses difficult questions for institutions operating in Europe – and the UK expats they serve – but this is no time for investors to take a “head in the sand” stance.
Engaging a wealth manager and getting professional investment advice is likely to make big differences to your financial future, writes the FWM team.
Engaging a wealth manager and getting proper, professional investment advice is likely to make all the difference to your financial future. Yet choosing the right wealth manager for your specific needs – and preferences – is vital. In wealth management the most valuable relationships blossom over time and so finding a firm you will be happy working with long term should be your aim.The wealth management market is crowded with all kinds of institutions. But while choice is certainly a good thing, the sheer diversity of wealth managers on offer can make finding the right one a challenge. Nevertheless, there are several important points of comparison which can help you make the right choice of wealth manager.
Choosing a wealth manager may be one of the most important financial decisions you ever make. You need consider the following factors when comparing wealth managers – all of which are covered by our unique algorithmic matching methodology.
The term “wealth management” covers an array of services, which is one of the reasons why there are so many different firms around. While some focus solely on managing investments, others have far broader offerings covering many elements of clients’ financial needs (and possibly even lifestyle services too).
Ascertaining which services you require (and perhaps those you may need in future) will have a huge influence on your eventual choice of wealth manager. Although there will be commonalities when it comes to which services are on offer, much of an institution’s capabilities will be dictated by factors like its corporate structure, size and history.
It may be that you simply want a professional money manager to construct and run a portfolio on your behalf, in which case a pure investment management firm could be the right choice. Conversely, you might be looking for a more comprehensive service which covers tax-efficient investment advice and inter-generational wealth planning.
Wealth management can also intersect with other types of financial services, straddling personal, corporate and investment banking. Some firms enable clients to borrow against their investment portfolios or property, while others act as a “one-stop-shop” for business owners. The size and structure of your chosen wealth manager is key to accessing the services you need.
Another big consideration is how much involvement you desire to have in the management of your investments, and the type of relationship you wish to have with your wealth manager. Some clients prefer a collaborative, advisory relationship while others wish to cede discretionary control to a professional because they don’t have the time or inclination to be more involved in managing their investments.
Yet the tone of a wealth management relationship is dictated by far more than whether investments are managed on an advisory or discretionary basis. Each institution can be said to have its own brand “personality”. Some clients prefer wealth managers in the style of traditional private client stockbroker or a specialist boutique, whereas others are drawn to the financial strength of high-profile brands. There are firms with excellent reputations at both ends of the spectrum and the question of whether bigger is better or not is often as much about personal taste as the firm’s proposition itself.
You may be looking to forge an enduring relationship with one adviser; equally, you may be happy to be serviced by a multi-disciplinary team that can offer broader advice. Both models have their appeal. You should also consider how technologically focused the institution is. Some clients prefer the convenience of doing business digitally when they can, whereas for others traditional communications hold sway.
Some wealth managers restrict their presence to London and a perhaps a handful of large cities, but others have always been more regionally focused. You should consider how convenient it will be to meet regularly with your wealth manager, but there are other important factors here. You may prefer a decentralised approach and an adviser with a strong professional network in your area; others may feel more comfortable dealing with a large, London-based firm, where the emphasis is on standardised processes and following a centralised investment strategy.
Cross-border capabilities and international expertise also crucial considerations when choosing a wealth manager. It may be that you wish to make certain offshore investments for tax purposes or require special expertise regarding a region or country. A client’s nationality and tax residency status are actually crucial considerations, so you need to ensure your wealth manager is experienced in dealing with similar people to you.
Perhaps the most important consideration of all is your relationship with your wealth manager when you meet them. Getting the most out of your wealth management relationship requires free and frank conversations, so it’s essential that you get on well with your adviser and can forge a strong working relationship based on trust. The best wealth management firms put a lot of effort into matching clients with the best advisers – ones who have lots of experience with dealing with similar clients and have the people skills necessary to accurately draw out your true attitudes and objectives. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the relationship factor since this is the individual (and wider team) that you will rely on to manage your assets.
findaWEALTHMANAGER.com takes the time and complexity out of finding your ideal investment professional, combining technology and human expertise to simplify the process. Try our online smart tool to see which firms match your needs or schedule a call with our independent team.