KW Wealth: Putting financial planning front and centre

David Inglesfield, Head of Wealth at KW Wealth, explains why his firm is different by virtue of being a financial planning firm foremost, and one which puts its role as a steward of wealth first.

Financial PlanningWhat is KW Wealth’s history and how does it stand now in terms of its UK presence and client base?

David: KW Wealth is seven years old, and we now have about 2,000 private and institutional clients who are kind enough to entrust us with around £1.8 billion of their wealth.

We serve these clients from seven offices, in London, Manchester, Brighton, Maidstone, Cheltenham and Worcester.

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

David: Our clients have wealth from selling a business, from inheritance or from pensions built up over a successful career. They don’t necessarily consider themselves ‘wealthy’ – most have perfectly ordinary backgrounds – but they do now have assets of significant size which need properly looking after.

We see it as our role to ensure that all our clients have the retirement they want and deserve.

As you’d expect from one of the few financial planners based in the City, we have a lot of professionals such as bankers and lawyers; but we also have many retired and elderly clients up and down the country, and a full spectrum of people in between. Indeed, the diversity of our clients is one of the things that makes my job so interesting.

We see it as our role to ensure that all our clients have the retirement they want and deserve.

How would you describe KW Wealth’s investment ethos and risk management approach? Does the firm have expertise in any particular areas of investment?

David: We always say that we are here to protect and grow our clients’ wealth. The first of these is key; our clients have made money and our job is to look after it. That does not mean that we are risk-averse in any conventional sense – much of our client money is in growth strategies. But it does mean that we are mindful of the downside, and we are proud that our investment performance shows that we are generally ahead of our benchmark for returns, but lower for risk. And for our cautious strategies we are substantially lower risk.

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

David: We are a wealth planning firm first and foremost, so we won’t get into an investment discussion until we have had a proper discussion with the client about their objectives and circumstances. This can involve discussions about retirement planning; sorting out pensions; addressing tax issues, and many other factors.

We are a wealth planning firm first and foremost, so we won’t get into an investment discussion until we have had a proper discussion with the client about their objectives and circumstances.

Once we get into the investment management, we follow a six-step process which includes creating an investment strategy suitable to a client’s particular needs; implementing that in accordance with our research views; and then monitoring it on an ongoing basis and ensuring that the client is kept well informed.

We have our own research team which maintains and develops our investment strategies. All the investments we use for client portfolios have to come from our research team’s approved list, which is always kept up to date. The investments themselves may be particular funds or direct holdings of securities. We focus on diversification, investment performance and cost-effectiveness to pick investments that we are happy for our clients to own.

We use a system called cash-flow modelling to align a client’s investment portfolio with their retirement income needs, and this is reviewed at least annually to ensure that the client’s plan is on track.

How would you describe KW Wealth’s approach to servicing clients?

David: First of all, we are very much a personal service business; all our clients have a principal named advisor with whom they deal. In addition, they may have a second advisor – for example a wealth planner and an investment manager – and they will also have a named client service associate, who will be available even if their primary contact is busy.

We’re a small firm and we like to ensure that clients have as much access to us as they need.

Clients get regular formal reports, and an annual review meeting with their advisor. We also provide weekly, monthly and quarterly updates, and we hold events for clients to meet our investment research team and business heads, as well as their wealth planner and investment manager. We’re a small firm and we like to ensure that clients have as much access to us as they need.

How does KW Wealth help clients engage more effectively with the management of their wealth?

David: We believe that our role is to help clients understand their wealth, and the decisions which it presents. These may be financial, such as decisions about investments, or non-financial, such as making long term provision for children or grandchildren.

We believe that our role is to help clients understand their wealth, and the decisions which it presents.

We publish regular client briefings on matters such as investments, tax and pensions, and we hold client events at which we discuss a topical issue – usually over a glass of wine!

What else is distinctive about KW Wealth?

David: We’re unusual as a wealth planning firm with its own in-house investment team. Clients don’t have to use it, but many do. We serve institutional clients as well, so our private clients get the benefit of institutional quality investment management. We’re also a Stock Exchange member firm and our private clients have access to the dealing desk if they wish.

But most of all, we regard ourselves as a people business; our clients are all individuals; we try to serve them in plain English with a minimum of jargon. And we never forget that our job is to protect and grow their hard-earned wealth.

To start a conversation with KW Wealth, contact our expert team.

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