Archive for June, 2013

READER SUBMITTED: New Member Of The State Insurance And Risk …

West Hartford Reader-Submitted Photo

Daniel J. Friedman, CEO at Wealth Management Group of NA, LLC.
(Candice Canace / June 26, 2013)

West Hartford

7:10 p.m. EDT, June 26, 2013

Daniel J. Friedman was sworn in as a member of the State Insurance and Risk Management Board for the State of Connecticut at a Board Meeting on Tuesday, June 18. The Board was established in 1963 to protect the assets of the State of Connecticut through a comprehensive and cost effective insurance and risk management program. The Board has eleven members appointed by the Governor and an ex-officio member who is the Comptroller of the State of Connecticut.

Daniel J. Friedman is the CEO of Wealth Management Group of NA, LLC (WMGNA) in Farmington. WMGNA is a comprehensive wealth management company established in 1995 for busy individuals and business owners who are interested in saving time, making smart choices with their money, and who prefer to have one team of professionals handle all aspects of their financial decisions.

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 EN No Comments

Future wealth management winners and losers will be defined by how they …

PwC logo. (PRNewsFoto/PwC)

NEW YORK, June 26, 2013 /NEWS.GNOM.ES/ – Wealth managers are struggling with the challenges posed by the economic environment and continuing regulatory pressures, according to a new PwC report published today.  PwC’s report, Navigating to tomorrow: serving clients and creating value, includes findings from PwC’s 2013 20th anniversary Global Private Banking and Wealth Management Survey. Survey participants suggest that the wealth management industry is moving away from simply providing products towards delivering solutions and advice to clients. Trust, reputation and brand will likely all play a greater role in client propositions and clients’ perception of value, says PwC.

(Logo: )

Despite the resurgence of global wealth to nearly pre-2008 levels, the industry is facing significant margin pressure caused by increasingly stringent and costly regulatory requirements, uneven growth across geographic markets, loss of certain type of fees and subdued client activity.  These dynamics are further compounded by shifting demographics and existing challenges around operations, technology, and talent management. Surviving and succeeding in this environment requires changing to a more consultative business model that places a premium on “doing the right thing,” says PwC.

Overall key findings include:

  • Compliance replaced reputation as the top risk management concern, as wealth management firms struggle to keep pace with the scale, speed and costs of current and planned regulatory change.
  • Infrastructure transformation will redefine how wealth managers serve clients.
  • The cost of complying with regulation will continue to rise, with respondents forecasting that risk and regulatory compliance expenses will account for seven percent of annual revenue in two years, up from five percent today.  Significantly, participants from the Americas project even higher costs, a nearly twofold increase to nine percent in the next two years.
  • Attracting and developing quality client relationship manager (CRM) talent has become a critical priority for the wealth management industry.

Key findings for the Americas:

  • Americas respondents consider New York, London and Miami to be the most successful international centres. Globally, Switzerland currently tops the list.
  • Cost to income ratios are significantly lower for the Americas with firms targeting forty eight percent for 2014 as compared to sixty four percent globally.
  • Americas respondents are nearly twice as likely to use new technology to communicate with their wealth clients (43% of Americas firms currently use PDAs and mobile tablets compared to 26% globally). 
  • Americas firms are making significant investments in core processes and technology as reflected in substantially higher operations and technology budget forecasts.

The report, which surveyed 200 institutions from more than 50 countries, found that the wealth management industry is at an inflection point, precipitated by continuing regulatory pressure, a challenging macro-economic environment, margin compression, changing demographics and trust challenges.

Specifically, PwC’s survey found that the industry must confront five areas of transformative change that will define business success:

Markets and Clients

With more new and innovative entrants in the field, an in-depth understanding of an increasingly diverse and disparate client base is essential to retaining a competitive edge. The industry should become more agile in using data analytics and other resources to pinpoint what clients really value and how much that value is worth to them. Findings from the survey include:

  • Newly emerging wealth markets are set to outpace established emerging markets while traditional sources of wealth such as North America and Western Europe will experience lower growth.
  • Women represent a significant but underleveraged growth opportunity. Though they currently comprise one third of the client base, only eight percent of firms surveyed focus on gender in their segmentation approach.  
  • Generation Y has unique characteristics not shared by their predecessors that must be understood and addressed to attract new and preserve existing relationships. Respondents noted that a decision by the next generation is the third most common reason clients leave a private bank, indicating a need to build more relevance for this segment. This aligns with survey findings indicating that wealth managers are not confident that their talent management strategy is conducive to meeting the needs of next generation heirs and millennials.
  • Americas respondents indicated they are almost three times as confident in their ability to meet the needs of the millennial generation.

“In Western Europe growth is slow, while North America shows moderate growth, and in the emerging markets growth remains relatively high but has slowed in some areas. To these markets, we can add a further group of nascent emerging markets which are accumulating new wealth most rapidly, with net new money growth forecast as 16% in 2013. The multi-speed wealth management market is here to stay and wealth managers should embrace this,” said Jeremy Jensen, EMEA leader, global private banking and wealth management, PwC. “Retaining clients remains a focus for wealth managers. Changes in personal circumstances are cited as the greatest reason for clients leaving, but the fact that ‘a decision by the next generation’ is the third most common shows both the importance and the challenge of better managing inter-generational wealth transfer. Wealth managers should improve their understanding of clients’ extended family issues to capitalise on the inter-generational opportunity.”

Risk and Regulation

In this year’s survey, compliance replaced reputation as the top risk concern, as wealth management firms struggle to keep pace with the scale, speed and costs of current and planned regulatory change.

  • Participants cite client and suitability risk as the second greatest area of concern after compliance both today and two years from now.
  • While the current approach to risk management centers around compliance and loss prevention initiatives, risk quantification and stakeholder value integration will assume greater priority in the next two years (this is a twenty eight percent increase for risk quantification and twenty five percent increase for stakeholder value/integration, respectively).
  • The cost of regulation will continue to rise, with respondents forecasting that risk and regulatory compliance will account for seven percent of annual revenue in two years, up from five percent today.
  • Tax information exchange leads the list of specific regulatory concerns, followed by client privacy/data protection and tax amnesties.

“Compliance and risk management is here to stay; private banks should accept this as reality, and that business as usual means doing things the right way, with the right people and right skills. The ability to understand and manage the avalanche of regulatory and risk issues, such as cross border transactions, tax transparency and sales practices will likely require private banks to continue investing heavily into systems and training to ensure that they are able to do business in a profitable, but compliant way,” said Justin Ong, Asia Pacific leader, global private banking and wealth management, PwC. “There will likely be a lot of change management happening in private banks globally as they start to build in processes and policies developed in the past few years to deal with the new operating environment.”

Human Capital

In light of aggressive competition and unprecedented trust erosion, attracting and developing quality client relationship manager (CRM) talent has become a critical priority for the wealth management industry. Setting the tone from the top and aligning rewards and incentives with ethical behavior is integral to rebuilding reputational equity and reclaiming “trusted advisor” status. In our survey:

  • Hiring experienced CRMs and improving overall skill levels is one of the top strategic considerations for senior leaders in the next two years.
  • With remuneration reported as the leading cause of attrition (seventy percent), firms are reconsidering reward and incentive structures in an effort to balance talent goals and stringent new rules around variable compensation.
  • The key attributes for successful CRMs are evolving in tandem with new client demands and business priorities. Most notably, specialized product knowledge jumped in significance from ninth place to second place and cross-selling took on substantially more prominence as well.
  • CRM objectives are changing dramatically with findings indicating that revenue growth will replace both net new money growth and gross return in AUM as the leading performance metric in the next two years.
  • Profitability by CRM and managing the cost of servicing are also expected to become substantially more important, rising from thirty five percent to forty five percent and twenty six percent to forty four percent, respectively.
  • Firms are focused on enhancing long-term incentives tied to goals.

“The required attributes of a successful CRM are different today – the bar is rising as business models evolve – requiring CRMs to have more specialised and detailed product knowledge. Communication and other soft skills have become increasingly important,” continued Jensen.  “Wealth managers should be courageous and proactive if they are to improve external public perception and engender higher levels of client confidence. CRMs will likely play a critical role as the industry seeks to rebuild trust.”

Operations and Technology

The quest for operational efficiency and differentiation through technology continues as firms increase investments to streamline processes, improve efficiency/productivity and mitigate risk. In our survey:

  • Respondents pinpointed a superabundance of manual processes as the leading challenge of operations and technology infrastructure by a substantial margin. However, more than half of participants (54%) are optimistic that they will achieve predominantly common processes and automation within the next two years – a threefold increase from today (17%).
  • Findings indicate that wealth management firms expect to see significant gains from investment in end-to-end processes and technology within the next two years.
  • With client service taking on even greater priority, digital interaction projected to double in the next two years, the bulk of technology investments will be earmarked for CRM tool support and mobile, social and digital connectivity/resources.
  • Notably, despite the growing emphasis on digital interaction, less than a quarter of respondents (24%) feel that their IT capability is sufficiently equipped to deliver an effective digital service strategy to clients.

“The wealthy by every demographic are more technology enabled than ever before. They tend to be part of connected digital communities who share their ideas and opinions. They are willing to do more of the background research and investigation on their own.  Their relationships with their advisors have taken on a hybrid or multi-media characteristic blending the trusted advisor with advanced technology tools analytics and social media.  This impacts the core technology infrastructure of wealth managers. Distinct from traditional transaction processing, which must absolutely be done correctly and profitably, technology budgets are increasingly focused on data, analytics,” said C. Steven Crosby, Americas leader, global private banking and wealth management, PwC.  “Today wealth managers should be able to provide data for clients who want it anytime, anywhere and on any device.”

Products and Services

As value chain dynamics and client priorities change, firms are aiming to combat commoditisation by shifting their focus to value-added financial planning services and reconsidering how they develop products. In our survey:

  • Only one third of firms plan to engage in revenue sharing and retrocessions during the next two years as compared to half today. 
  • With commission revenues dwindling, seventy one percent of senior wealth management executives expect that, two years from now, their business model will encompass broader financial and wealth planning solutions, up from fifty six percent.
  • Fewer products will be manufactured in-house in future as firms continue to transition to a hybrid approach that combines proprietary and third party strategies (seventy six percent will use a hybrid approach in the next two years versus sixty five percent today).
  • The transparent unbundling of products and services is creating opportunities for new entrants within the wealth value chain.

“Our respondents are struggling with transformational change. The products and services the wealthy are seeking today are far different from those of the past.  Clients are demanding best of breed products with fee structures they can readily understand and evaluate on their own.  More importantly they are now looking for something extra from their wealth managers. Today the wealthy seek guidance and direction on investments, family, philanthropy, retirement and long term health care,” continued Crosby.  ”This is more sophisticated financial planning and less transaction focused. Increasingly this part of the customer experience is becoming digital with new tools and capabilities.”

Download a copy of the 2013 PwC report here: Navigating to tomorrow: serving clients and creating value

About the PwC Global Private Banking and Wealth Management Survey

PwC’s 2013 Global Private Banking and Wealth Management Survey reflects the changing industry landscape and adds our own point of view to provide the global wealth management community with an independent framework, to guide further analysis and thought around how to evolve business today to better serve the needs of clients tomorrow.

The 2013 survey gathered insights and perspectives on critical aspects of the challenges confronting participants, with a host of different operating models and businesses across all segments of global wealth management. Participants’ combined responses yield a fascinating self portrait of global wealth management both now and into the coming years.

About PwC US
PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they’re looking for.  We’re a member of the PwC network of firms in 158 countries with more than 180,000 people.  We’re committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.  Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at

Learn more about PwC by following us online: @PwC_LLP, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google +.

© 2013 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the US member firm, and may sometimes refer to the PwC network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see for further details.



Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 EN No Comments

HMRC confirms VAT exemption on discretionary transactional fees

HMRC confirms VAT exemption on discretionary transactional fees

HMRC has confirmed the VAT exemption on fees charged on a transactional basis will still apply, while VAT will still be levied on discretionary annual management charges.

Following a ruling by the European Court of Justice which recommended all elements of discretionary management services, including dealing fees and commission, should be subject to VAT, HMRC has issued a statement outlining the treatment of VAT on discretionary management services.

It stated that VAT should not be levied on fees charged strictly on a transaction by transaction basis, although this is conditional on the portfolio management services being contracted for on that basis and was irrespective of whether the portfolio is managed on a discretionary or advisory basis. 

It concluded that following the ECJ judgement: ‘It is clear that fees charged by portfolio managers on an annual or other periodic basis for the purchase and sale of securities can no longer be treated as exempt from VAT, regardless of whether or not a separate charge is made.’ 

As a result, HMRC stated that portfolio management services with an annual or periodic management fee must pay VAT.

HMRC added: ‘Portfolio management services can be distinguished from other financial advisory services because there is an ongoing commitment to monitor and manage an individual client’s investment portfolio to formulate investment decisions or recommendations.

‘They should also be distinguished from investment fund management services (that is, the management of pooled investments within a fund structure) where VAT exemption is dependent upon the nature of the fund being managed.’

Andy Thompson of the Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (Apcims) welcomed the decision. Although discretionary management firms which wrap transactional charges in within a flat periodic or annual charge will see VAT applied across both underlying aspects, he said the HMRC decision would benefit a large number of investment management firms which separate out the AMC from underlying transactional charges.

‘All HMRC is doing is maintaining the status quo. This is good news as there would have been a number of implications. For example firms would have had to implement change so that VAT could be collected and this could have increased the charge for the service for clients. This is a good news story for a change and we would certainly welcome that,’ he told Wealth Manager.


Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 EN No Comments

How Scott Dell’Orfano is making a difference six months later in doubling the …

Brooke’s Note: It’s hard not to like deals like this one in the RIA business. They stretch the realm of what RIAs might deem possible. Here you have a service-to-the-hilt Boston-based family office in Silver Bridge being bought up by a maverick Floridian serial buyer in Peter Raimondi of Banyan Partners. There’s a missing piece of the puzzle here in this storybook tale until you realize the author has earlier developed a character in the form of ex-Fido-man Scott Dell’Orfano — Boston to the core and knowledgeable about which fork to select — who is now working for the Florida company precisely to make deals like this one. If the family office can teach the asset managers a few manners and the asset managers can instill a little discipline and street smarts in the family office then who is to say that this might not be the model of the future?

Strategic acquirer Banyan Partners LLC in balmy Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., hired Boston-based Fidelity’s national sales chief, Scott Dell’Orfano, in the hopes that he’d reel in some big fish.

Six months later, he’s landed a whopper. With the purchase of the patrician, if somewhat beleaguered, wealth manager Silver Bridge, with its $1.9 billion in assets, Banyan Partners has more than doubled its size, and, in the process, turned the $1.5 billion firm’s business model on its ear. See: Scott Dell’Orfano lands at a $1.4 billion RIA with plans to deal its way to $10 billion.

Combined, the firm will have eight locations and 70 employees, including 22 portfolio managers. See: In a triple merger, fast-growing Florida RIA scoops up an LPL advisor and a fellow asset manager to double firm size.

Different strengths

The deal between the lower-service asset manager and the white glove family office has industry watchers wondering whether opposites not only attract but can live happily ever after.

“It seems strategically in line with what would make both of these firms better off as one than they were separately,” says Jeff Roush, managing partner of Argos Wealth Advisors LLC of Napa, Calif., which keeps more than $1 billion of assets under administration.

“Most family offices have trouble on the investment management side, and most investment management shops are light on the family-office side. Hopefully, when you blend these two strengths on both sides, it’ll be better for both as one firm.”

Six degrees of Dell’Orfano

One thing working in favor of the deal’s success is Dell’Orfano’s knowledge of both firms. He was with Fidelity for eight years and during that time Silver Bridge kept a portion of its assets there.

Tom Manning: The noise on the outside of the firm has always been greater than the noise inside.
Tom Manning: The noise on the
outside of the firm has always
been greater than the noise inside.

“Scott was instrumental in helping me close the deal,” says Banyan founder Peter Raimondi. “The opportunity was brought to me by a third party in Boston who knew both Silver Bridge and Banyan and thought I’d be interested. Scott and I handled all the negotiations and presentations with Silver Bridge. He knew of Silver Bridge as they are a Fidelity client.” See: In a triple merger, fast-growing Florida RIA scoops up an LPL advisor and a fellow asset manager to double firm size.

Poor little rich firm

For its part, Silver Bridge has taken some hits of late and is hoping this merger will help it rebound. After being pushed aside as a distraction by its gigantic legal parent and then suffering a series of defections, the big Boston advisory firm, which works with families whose assets range from $1 million to $100 million, may finally have found a home where it will be encouraged to grow and excel.

A year ago, Silver Bridge lost one of its best and brightest advisors when Dune Thorne, who earned her MBA from Harvard Business School, left the firm for Baltimore-based Brown Advisory Inc. See: A Harvard MBA takes her team from a $3-billion Boston RIA to join a $29-billion RIA based in Baltimore.

In addition, former president and CEO Steve Prostano decamped, as did Paul Matherwiez, a managing director. The company even announced at one point that it wanted to try life as a family office TAMP. See: How WilmerHale is positioning its $3.3B-AUA RIA as outsourcer and owner in a $750-billion market.

The firm’s former parent company, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale Dorr LLP, also tried to overhaul the wealth management firm’s focus a year ago to acquire family offices. That wasn’t successful, and industry leaders felt that it was clear WilmerHale was looking to shop around for another buyer.

Jeff Roush: It seems strategically in line with what would make both of these firms better off as one than they were separately.
Jeff Roush: It seems strategically in
line with what would make both
of these firms better off as
one than they were separately.

Good bones

But WilmerHale underrated Silver Bridge’s contribution to the overall firm because of its size, according to Jaime McLaughlin of J.H. McLaughlin Co. LLC. He suspects that Silver Bridge may have had around $12 million in annual revenue, just 1.2% of WilmerHale’s $1 billion in annual revenue. See: How WilmerHale is positioning its $3.3B-AUA RIA as outsourcer and owner in a $750-billion market.

And McLaughlin wonders if some staffers left when it became apparent that WilmerHale intended to sell Silver Bridge.

“Deal making is hard. When you’re in the process of making a deal, I bet the entire firm is distracted,” McLaughlin says. “I thought Silver Bridge had strong orientation of a strong culture that was very distinctive and many of the people who created that culture are now gone. I think Silver Bridge is a noble firm but didn’t have the best ownership structure — meaning they weren’t a successful contributor to their parent company WilmerHale. But I think the bones of Silver Bridge were very good.”

Silver Bridge’s former CEO Tom Manning, who will assume the role of chief investment officer for Banyan, feels the problems at Silver Bridge were often exaggerated.

“The noise on the outside of the firm has always been greater than the noise inside,” Manning says. “We did have a few people from the organization leave. The reality of the organization was, we chose to focus on a few things rather than to focus on everything. We always provided a lot of services for our clients and we realized there were only using a select number of services. We decided to reallocate our services and focus on those services that clients were really using.”

Manning also concedes that trying to attract giant family-office clients was a big challenge for the firm. He says that in some cases, there might have been only 20 clients who were utilizing all of the family-office services.

“It became more difficult to attract the right talent and to work for very few clients, and the retention of these people would be an issue,” Manning says.

Buying a ‘larger’ firm

One unusual aspect about this deal is that Silver Bridge possesses larger assets than its purchaser. Banyan has $1.5 billion in assets and Silver Bridge has about $1.9 billion. Together, the two firms have assets of about $3.4 billion. In addition, Silver Bridge is even bigger, because the firm has an additional $1 billion in assets under advisement.

Jaime McLaughlin: I think Silver Bridge is a noble firm but didn't have the best ownership structure.
Jaime McLaughlin: I think Silver Bridge
is a noble firm but didn’t
have the best ownership structure.

“It is unusual, but it is really a revenue/profit number that generally guides valuation and has little to do with AUM,” Raimondi says. “We are an extremely well-run firm and very well capitalized. Silver Bridge is also very well run under Tom Manning. The firm has incredible talent and leadership in the investment area. Their issue was more about growth. We are growing organically about 35% to 40%, and their growth was much less than that. Combined with Banyan and our strong national presence, we can enhance their growth immensely.”

Raimondi also feels that his firm’s investment-only shop and Silver Bridge’s wealth-management firm will complement each other. “Our combined firms had virtually no overlap,” he says.

Right leadership on board?

While industry leaders agree with Raimondi that there may be an array of positives with this merger, they also feel Banyan has its work cut out for it merging the two business models.

Roush questions whether Banyan now has the right leadership to handle this massive venture of merging these two giant firms into one.

“I think this could be interesting. Now, what we have here is, ‘do we blend these investment professionals with family-office professionals?’ That’s quite an exercise in patience and strong leadership,” Roush says. “Is the leadership strong enough to create more value for the families? And the jury’s out on that.”

Deep roots

But Dell’Orfano believes Banyan has the right leadership team in place.

“I can tell you the leadership of Tom Manning and the client advisory side at Silver Bridge are some of the best people I’ve met in the industry,” Dell’Orfano says. “They were a small custody client of Fidelity and I was pretty intimate with some of the folks over there. In addition, I’ve known Peter for 10 years and view him as one of those CEOs who has a great vision of where he wants to take the firm. It’s set up as an institution — not as a boutique. He’s not afraid to diversify his management team. Now, with myself and with Tom we function as one cohesive management team.”

Dell’Orfano also points out that Banyan offers equity to current employees..

“I have seen 3,000 advisory firms and you get a sense of firms that are set up for success and others who are struggling with these issues,” Dell’Orfano says. “I can’t tell you how many conversations [I’ve had] with CEOs who don’t know how to distribute shares to employees. They’re overextended themselves on expense lines and they had infrastructure for massive organization but aren’t a massive organization.”

In sync

Raimondi says that in many cases it would be a challenge for a wealth management and investment-only shop to merge, but feels he has an edge given his experience with The Colony Group LLC. See: A look inside Focus Financial’s big deal with The Colony Group..
“I created an excellent financial planning firm, and over a 20-year-period, we turned that firm into a premier planning firm with strong estate-planning services,” he says. “I’ve got 25 years of experience running a wealth management firm. It’s only been in the last seven years that I’ve focused solely on managing money. It’s time to evolve our firm to wealth management services.”

Raimondi wants to build a strong national brand.

“It’s important to have services nationwide be exactly the same no matter the location,” he says. “The goal with Banyan is to have services that are second to none.”

Raimondi believes the two firms have real synergies. “I built Banyan to focus on customer’s portfolio management with a deep investment team. We provide very high-end wealth management services and estate-planning services to just two dozen clients. We know that as Banyan ascended over $1 billion, we were going to attract more clients who needed those services. Silver Bridge, [with] their family office, is the perfect component. The beauty of the two firms is now we get excellent investment management and we get to build up a family office.”


Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 EN No Comments

CEO resigns from major bank advice firm

National Australia Bank today announced the resignation of JBWere Chief Executive Officer, Paul Heath.

Heath has been JBWere CEO for four years, and has been with JBWere for 19 years. He will stay in the business until mid-July to support the orderly transition to an interim CEO. NAB will be searching both internally and externally, with the JBWere Board, for a permanent replacement.

Andrew Hagger, Group Executive NAB Wealth, said, “Paul has transformed a brokerage focused business into Australasia’s pre-eminent private wealth management firm. We thank him for his significant contribution in leading the business through change and wish him well for the future.”

Heath began with JBWere in 1994, in its Perth office, as an adviser. In 2006 he was appointed managing director – Private Wealth Management before becoming CEO. Heath spent a total of eight years leading JBWere including through the strategic private wealth management alliance formed with NAB in 2009.

 “It has been a privilege to be part of JBWere for the past 19 years. I have had the opportunity to work with an extraordinary group of colleagues and clients over an extraordinary period of time – for both the firm and financial markets. I reflect with great pride on what we have achieved together,” said Heath.


Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 EN No Comments

Independent financial advisory and discretionary wealth management firm AFH …

Alan Hudson, chairman and chief executive of AFH, said: “Today’s acquisition further advances our successful strategy of growing the Company both organically and through select and well-timed acquisitions.

“Importantly Shape Financial is a strong cultural fit for AFH and their Somerset outpost provides a platform from which the company can extend its reach into the South West region.”

Shape Financial is an FCA authorised, Somerset-based IFA which reported a turnover of £1.5m in its most recently completed financial year.

The acquisition brings 16 new advisers, including all 5 shareholder directors of Shape Financial, to the company’s current total of 104 advisers.

The new advisers will continue to operate out of Shape Financial’s Somerset-based office, broadening AFH’s presence into the South West of England.


Monday, June 24th, 2013 EN No Comments

The world’s wealthiest have bounced back from the GFC, but have become risk …

The world’s wealthiest have recouped the losses incurred in the 2008 banking crisis, and are now richer and more numerous than ever.

Today there are more than 103,000 of what wealth watchers call ‘ultra-high-net-worth-individuals’, usually referred to as UHNWIs. To rank as an UHNWI, you need at least $30 million in assets. On top of that, there were 12 million high net-worth individuals worldwide, defined as those with $1 million in investable assets. There were 9% more high net-worth individuals this year than last.

Those figures are from an annual wealth report released last week by RBC Wealth Management and consulting firm Capgemini. The ranks of the world’s wealthiest grew strongly last year, following on from another healthy rise in 2011, when the numbers of the super-wealthy first hit pre-crisis levels.

The United States has had a run of positive economic figures in recent months, and the report unearths another. The number of high net-worth individuals in North America increased 11.5% in 2012 to hit 3.73 million. This put North America back on top as the continent of millionaires, eclipsing the Asia-Pacific, which grew 9.4% to boast 3.68 million millionaires, of which 207,000 live in Australia.

The report was prepared for wealth managers, so it looked in some detail at the investment preferences of the world’s richest. It surveyed 4000 global high net-worth individuals about how they like to invest their money and unearthed an interesting paradox.

Leverage and risk are how entrepreneurs get wealthy. But the wealthy people surveyed for the report showed a clear bias towards conservative asset allocation, putting nearly 30% of their wealth into cash and deposits.

This aversion to risk applied across all ages and wealth levels, and, the authors write, suggests a low level of trust in financial markets.

Japanese millionaires were the most likely to leave their wealth in cash, while North American investors favoured equities (putting nearly 30% of their money into the stock market). Australia’s millionaires put more of their wealth than the global average into property, which is unsurprising, given a quarter of the people on the Rich List got there through property investments.

A preference for cash wasn’t the only sign of caution those surveyed displayed. Even when they did invest in shares and property, most of the millionaires said they invested around 80% of their assets in their home country, as opposed to seeking out wherever in the world they could get the greatest return.

“Given recent market rallies, there is little doubt that the high allocation to more stable assets has likely caused some HNWIs to miss opportunities for wealth growth,” the report states.

“However, this is often a conscious decision as some HNWIs willingly forego returns in exchange for the safety of capital. As the global economy stabilizes and markets expand, HNWIs seeking growth will have the potential to put more of their wealth to more productive use.”

This is interesting because global interest rates are low. Low interest rates mean low returns for cash deposits, meaning investors would do well to pivot out of cash, as many wealth management advisers say.

It’s good advice. But it seems that for one reason or another, the world’s richest are favouring far more conservative investment strategies than the ones we’re normally advised to pursue.

Maybe they figure that once they’ve hit the jackpot, there’s little to be gained in jeopardising that. Or, perhaps, they’re still cautious about the global economy.

This article originally appeared on SmartCompany.


Monday, June 24th, 2013 EN No Comments

Hong Kong Edges Out Singapore in Millionaire Wealth

Hong Kong
Ed Jones / AFP / Getty Images

A view of Hong Kong

For decades, the Asian city-states of Singapore and Hong Kong have competed to be recognized as Asia’s international business capital. In 2012, Hong Kong moved ahead of its Southeast Asian rival, at least in terms of millionaire wealth, according to a recent survey.

As Quartz reports, the RBC Wealth Management and Capegemini survey found that Hong Kong’s total wealth of individuals with more than $1 million in investable money was $560 billion last year while Singapore’s was nearly 9% less, at $489 billion. Meanwhile, both stock markets rose in 2012 with Singapore’s Straits Times Index increasing 18% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 20%.

(MORE: Asia’s Art-Fair Boom: Hong Kong and Singapore Compete for Cultural Top Slot)

The two-city states have vied for business capital and investment ever since Singapore’s economy began picking up in the 1980s with the growth of its high-tech sector. Last year Singapore trumped Hong Kong with more millionaire money by an estimated $30 billion on the same list. The Lion City also beat out Hong Kong last year in an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) research report commissioned by Citigroup. Taking the third spot on a list of most competitive cities worldwide (behind New York and London), Singapore was ranked higher than Hong Kong in its ability to attract capital, talent, tourists and businesses. It was also considered the most livable. However, Hong Kong wasn’t far behind, coming in fourth on the list.

(MORE: Pollution and Housing Top Agenda for Hong Kong’s Embattled Leader)

While both city-states have a large ethnically-Chinese population and are considered international and cosmopolitan, Hong Kong’s economy often relies on its Chinese roots for the influx of capital in property and retail sales. Singapore, on the other hand, remains economically independent from any motherland. (The former British territory located at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula was occupied by the Japanese during World War II and annexed by Malaysia from 1963 to 1965, before regaining its independence on August 9, 1965.)

Though Singapore historically is recognized as more green, both Asian city-states are grappling with a severe pollution problem. The two are considered cultural capitals, have a high demand in the housing market, deal with limited land supply and continue to court Westerners both in tourism and business ventures.

MORE: ‘Made’ in China: The Millennials Look East for Jobs


Monday, June 24th, 2013 EN No Comments

UBS To Close Wealth-management And Commercial Banking Units In India …

Swiss banking giant UBS AG (UBS: Quote) has begun to wind down its wealth-management and commercial banking businesses in India, as part of the company’s global strategy of focusing only on “core strengths” in each country where it operates and on businesses that require less capital, according to several reports, citing a person familiar with the matter.

On Saturday, a spokesman for UBS in Hong Kong reportedly said the bank remains committed to India. “We’ll continue with our core business of equities and investment banking,” he said.

The company launched its commercial banking business in India in mid-2010.

The winding down process will take two years to complete and will result in 50 people losing their job, the reports said citing the person.

UBS would be the second global bank this year to pull out of wealth management in India.

Last month, Morgan Stanley (MS: Quote) sold its Indian wealth-management business to U.K.’s Standard Chartered Plc. (STAN.L).

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Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 EN No Comments

John Berry – Finance: Investment Services – Stanford Who’s Who Certified

John Berry Is Distinguished For Unique Achievements With Jigsaw Wealth Management SINGAPORE, June 24, 2013 /Stanford Who’s Who/ — Stanford Who’s Who proudly announces the addition of John Berry to the ranks of professional individuals as a result of his work in the field of financial services. As Client Partner at Jigsaw Wealth Management, as well as throughout his entire career, John has consistently demonstrated the dedication, vision, and skills required to be considered among the best. Jigsaw Wealth Management started out in 2004 as a provider of investment and wealth management advisory services to global investors in South Asia and beyond. Enjoying continuous growth, the organization is now managing millions of dollars for both individuals and SME’s, delivering first class wealth management consulting in over 20 countries. In addition to their comprehensive range of wealth management services, the company also specializes in tax management. John Berry embraced the challenges of his role as Client Partner with Jigsaw Wealth Management in 2013. Prior to his current endeavors, he served for more than 15 years with RBS Coutts in the banking industry as Structured Products Manager and Customized Investment Advisor. John is passionate about his work and enjoys educating people on investments as well as reaching out to them on different matters of investing. John Berry earned a vast part of his expertise through professional experience. Additionally, he is actively involved with various professional societies and groups that bring him valuable industry insight. John is affiliated with Asian Wealth Management Forum, Global Wealth Management, Global Private Wealth Management, the Institute for Wealth Management Standards, and Singapore Banking Professionals. Use the following link to view more information on John Berry [1] Browse the Stanford Who’s Who Social Media Branding website [2]



Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 EN No Comments