Why now could be perfect time to invest in your firm

Why now could be perfect time to invest in your firm

Challenging markets and regulatory pressures may be leading many wealth management firms to batten down the hatches and strip out costs, but there are plenty who believe that now is actually the time to be investing heavily in their businesses.

Several wealth managers, including private client giants Brewin Dolphin and Charles Stanley, have seen their profits slide over the past year on the back of falling fee income from reduced assets under management. Conventional wisdom and indeed shareholder pressure may suggest austerity is the solution, but several business leaders, along with academic research, state that the opposite is more beneficial in both the short and the long term.

David Carter, an independent business adviser whose clients have included Lloyds TSB and GazProm, said: ‘Now is the time to put together the best team, systems, products and service. Customers are worried and there will be a flight to quality.

‘It is a question of short-termism versus long-termism. It is an amazing opportunity to thrive because weak competition will die and it will become a more competitive marketplace.’

Significant investment needed

Berry Asset Management is one such firm that has been investing significantly in its business.

Chief executive Jamie MacLeod said the company has made substantial long-term capital investments designed to improve both its internal systems and its reach into the adviser market ahead of the retail distribution review (RDR).

‘I like choppy waters and big winds – it gives you a chance, particularly if you are evolving a business, to make real progress moving it forward,’ he said. ‘We are using the market situation to really invest in our business and prepare ourselves for a more appealing environment.’

Berry has overhauled its back office through a tie-up with SEI and upgraded its premises, moving from Chelsea Harbour to a more central office on Pall Mall.

To make the firm more ‘RDR-centric’, Berry has also moved its model portfolios onto adviser platforms, such as Novia, and built a team of three regional business development managers from scratch with a fourth set to join soon.


Monday, January 30th, 2012 EN

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