Category: Private Banking

Three Quarters of High-net-worth Individuals plan to Invest more in 2016
Private BankingWealth Management

Three Quarters of High-net-worth Individuals plan to Invest more in 2016

When asked “Do you intend to invest more in the first six months of 2016?” 76 per cent of clients contacted by deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations, said Yes.

14 per cent responded No and 10 per cent did not yet know.

767 people with investable assets of £1m or more from countries including the UK, the U.S., Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Hong Kong, South Africa and Switzerland were surveyed in January 2016.

Of the findings, Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of deVere Group, comments: “The results of this poll clearly show high-net-worth individuals now have a strong appetite to use the cash that they have held in reserve to top up and diversify their investment portfolios.

“The survey overwhelmingly demonstrates that they are aware of the opportunities to buy high quality equities at the prices they want to pay. They are seeing more favourable choices to boost their portfolios for the longer-term.

“It is a sound investment strategy to put new cash to use in the market whilst prices are relatively low. Capitalising like this on the attractive long-term performance of stock markets is a time-honoured way that investors can successfully build wealth.”

He adds: “No-one can predict exactly what the markets will do in the immediate future and it’s too early to say if this is or isn’t the bottom of the market. But our poll suggests that high-net-worth investors believe that it is close to the bottom and that there are major buying opportunities.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “It would appear that many high-net-worth individuals kept their powder dry during 2015, as the markets rose then fell and as we braced ourselves for the first Fed rate hike in almost a decade. But any qualms they might have had last year are now countered by more attractive prices.

“They are moving away from a preservation approach by diversifying their investment portfolios. As shown by decades of financial market data, this is the correct approach to risk management.”

Wealth Management Tech Firm WDX Reports 115% Revenue Growth
Private BankingWealth Management

Wealth Management Tech Firm WDX Reports 115% Revenue Growth

Increasing demand for regulatory compliance, digitisation and business insight within the UK’s wealth management sector has enabled WDX, the sector’s leading CRM software company and only dedicated Microsoft Gold Partner to announce 115% growth in revenues over the past 12 months to £5.4 million, with further significant growth envisaged in the next year. Announcing its listing as the 11th fastest growing start up company in the UK in the coveted Sunday Times’ Sage Start Up Track 15 and further client wins and project completions including most recently Brown Shipley, WDX has become the fastest growing technology provider in the UK wealth sector.

The wealth and investment management industry is finally coming to terms with the use of the web as an important client engagement tool and the need to ‘join’ digital interaction with the client engagement, client management and operational processes within firms. A recent study by Scorpio Partnership found that 63% of UK wealth clients would now consider leaving (their WM) if they cannot make investments directly and firms now understand that technology is the key enabler to remain relevant to this changing demographic.

WDX’s focus for 2016 is to continue to drive digital transformation and business change to the wealth sector and to provide exceptional client insight capability; providing a future-proof and best-of-breed CRM backbone to UK wealth firms.

Along side the exceptional technology and digital connectivity capabilities of its award-winning Microsoft Dynamics-based CRM platform, WDX is launching ‘WDX Insight’; a business intelligence module that will bring wealth firms unrivalled data mining and analytics capability to deliver fast and efficient client and intermediary insight, sales and marketing metrics and enable best-in-class performance across all areas of Client Suitability, KYC, sanctions checking, revenue generation and conduct risk mitigation.

WDX’s success over the past three years has been founded on the concept that a Customer Relationship Management framework, specifically tailored for the Wealth Management sector, can change the way an organisation acquires prospective clients through digital and traditional marketing engagement. It also allows forward thinking firms to transform the way they organise, manage and communicate with existing clients and intermediaries allowing innovation and new efficiencies in day-to-day activity while evidencing all aspects of client interaction and adherence to conduct of business guidelines.

WDX has continued to grow its team to over 40 staff and has office locations in Shoreditch London, Luxembourg and the Baltics. An office in Singapore is planned for 2016 to launch WDX in Asia and increased focus on the UK and more traditional European markets remains key for 2016. The existing UK and maturing regulatory frameworks in Europe and Asia will drive technology innovation and demand in the areas of conduct risk and client management.

Commenting on the firm’s success, Mr Gary Linieres, CEO, said: “For the first time in the 15 years I have been involved, the wealth management industry in the UK is genuinely going through a period of fundamental technological change. This is being driven by a vigorous and motivated regulator, a new generation of demanding clients, innovative competition and apprehensive boardroom directors, all of whom are demanding better insight, detailed data, modern tools and a general raising of standards in conduct, client management and new client acquisition.

“I find it amazing that many wealth management firms still have only scratched the surface of what is possible with modern CRM and Digital technologies. Many firms are facing a demographic time bomb within their ageing client bases and have no real strategy of how to modernise the engagement models and business processes required to meet the needs of a demanding new generation of wealth. Those that embrace change will not only improve their growth potential, they will be able to drive a cultural change in their organisations and gain real insight in to how well their business and people are performing.

“WDX’s growth over the past two years has been a reflection of the changing market and the development of a leading technology solution to help meet that change. However, what really pleases us is getting strategically important clients like Brown Shipley live and leveraging technology to evolve the way they operate and fundamentally change the culture of their organisations for the better.”

Rob Kitchen, Chief Operating Officer at leading UK Private Bank, Brown Shipley part of the KBL group, said, “We have been working hard with WDX over the past twelve months and are delivering a CRM solution that will build upon our reputation for exceptional customer service. This is a significant technological advancement for us and dramatically improves our ability to manage our internal client management, compliance and new client on-boarding activities efficiently.”

The WDX CRM solution is based on the very latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform and is specifically deployed to enhance digital marketing and communications, sales performance, client on-boarding, suitability, risk profiling, client management, client operations, business insight and the mobile experience of wealth managers.

Private BankingWealth Management

Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse of Your Finances

Rather than having to remember passwords, answers to secret questions and telephone length number combinations, bank account holders will instead be identified by their veins.

“It is in men as in soils where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not”
– Jonathan Swift

The technology works with the use of an infra-red scanner. Portable and pluggable into any computer USB port, a customer simply places his or her finger inside the device with the unique patterns of their veins being read.

If the finger is approved, the customer will have access to their account within seconds.

The scanner will only be able to read the veins of a living finger, giving the technology a distinct advantage over fingerprint recognition and thwarting fraudsters much more effectively.

While it is the first time the technology has been on show in the UK, the new approach is successfully used in Japan and Poland. In both countries it is used on cash machines, (ATMs), with the customer not having to use a card or remember their personal identification number (PIN).

“Let me remind you that credit is the lifeblood of business, the lifeblood of prices and jobs”
– Herbert Hoover

Initially, Barclays will only offer the vein scanning service to its business customers, with companies registering to use the technology able to register several members of staff. Barclays says the system will allow one person to request the payment with another approving it.

Barclays has said that the expense of the technology in its present form is unlikely to appeal to retail banking customers immediately, but the head of personal and corporate banking for the bank, Ashok Vaswani, explained it was ideal for larger firms:

“For corporate clients who do a lot of large transactions, this makes a lot of sense,”

However, retail devices and use-at-home devices could not be far away, which would create a whole new trend of finger banking.

Queen’s Bank to be Sold
Private BankingWealth Management

Queen’s Bank to be Sold

Reports are suggesting that the sale could generate £600m ($1bn).

The bank, founded in the 18th century, is likely to see interest from bidders across the world. However, it is unclear whether the new Coutts International will be kept as one entity or split up. If it is split, one operation would be based in the UK, the other in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Zurich operation would manage around £20bn of assets, primarily in Asian and Middle-Eastern countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai.

A memo issued to staff by RBS ahead of the public announcement said:

“We will… work with local management teams to explore options including merging the remainder of the current Coutts International business, considering joint ventures or a sale, thereby reducing RBS’s footprint internationally.

“There are no immediate changes for individuals in these businesses and it is important that we continue to work together to deliver for our customers.”

It will be a further watering down of the bank which saw its, African, Caribbean and Latin American private banking operations snapped up by the Royal Bank of Canada in 2012.

In its present form, Coutts International has a presence in seven countries employing around 1,200 members of staff.

Bitcoin to lead to "Tidal Wave" of Private Money
Private BankingWealth Management

Bitcoin to lead to “Tidal Wave” of Private Money

The innovation of non-conventional types of money – such as Bitcoin – has been fuelled by mounting restrictions on financial freedom. Constraints on commerce, the erosion of financial privacy and a wish for greater quality have been the driving forces in the emerging market for private money.

New Private Monies: A Bit-Part Player? by Kevin Dowd argues that states must allow a level playing field as far as private money is concerned. For too long the government has stifled competition between state-backed and private currencies. Instead, central banks should welcome competition as it forces them to offer consumers greater choice and improved quality.

A weakened ability to store value, growing restrictions on finance, oppressive taxes and a lack of financial privacy have resulted in growing frustration at state controlled money. The superior nature of private currencies combined with the financial freedom they offer has led to their increasing attraction.

Bitcoin enables its owners, among other things, to protect their wealth, make investments free from government control and retain a level of privacy, making it increasingly attractive. The price of Bitcoin rose from 3 cents in April 2010 when first traded, to over US$900 in January 2014.

The relationship between restrictions on individual freedom and demand for private money is also identified in the paper. The increasing constraints on personal freedom have led to private money becoming more and more popular as it enables people to do what would otherwise be illegal. The market for private monies will continue to thrive as long as states restrict and prohibit various forms of commerce.

Commenting on the report, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “If government were to embrace private monies rather than suppress them, there would be profound implications for individual freedom. Bitcoin has proved widely successful as an alternative form of exchange and as way of restoring financial freedom. It is just the beginning however. Fierce demand for private money will drive innovation, creating a tidal wave of new and superior forms of exchange.”

Investor Confidence in UK Shares
Private BankingWealth Management

Investor Confidence in UK Shares

After a strong year for UK shares, the Lloyds Bank Private Banking Investor Sentiment Index survey shows private investor confidence in asset class is at its highest since the survey began
in March 2013.

According to the monthly survey, the net sentiment1 among surveyed investors has risen to  38 at the start of January, with over 47% of respondents holding a positive view just 9% holding a negative view, while 31% held a neutral view. This is in sharp contrast to March 2013, when the figure was just over 16, with nearly 34 per cent holding a positive view and over 17% negative, while 38% held a neutral view.

Despite periods of volatility, the FTSE 100 enjoyed a strong 2013, rising 14.4% in the best year for the index since 2009 when it made gains of 18.66%. Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 of smaller companies finished 2013 at an all-time high of 15,935.35.

The year 2013 saw a number of positive news stories about the UK economy including improved economic indicators and company earnings. Lloyds Bank Private Banking currently holds a positive view towards UK equities, with an overweight position in its client portfolios towards the
asset class.

In other global markets, private investors looked beyond market concerns towards US equities following the first round of the government’s reduction in quantitative easing. Net sentiment improved towards the US stock market between December and January rising nearly seven points to 7.

Investors surveyed also remain broadly negative towards Eurozone stock markets, with sentiment staying firmly in negative figures at -21. However, this is a substantial improvement on lows of -59 in April 2013. Japanese shares also reached their highest net sentiment in the survey’s history, climbing almost five points from the previous month to 13 in January 2014.

Lloyds Bank Private Banking maintains a neutral stance towards US equities, but sees value in the Eurozone and Japan, holding an equity overweight position in both these markets.

Commenting on the latest Investor Sentiment Index, Ashish Misra, Head of Investment Policy at Lloyds Bank Private Banking said: “It’s encouraging to see investors placing more faith in the UK stock market, and good news for British companies ahead of the first earnings season of 2014.

There has been a slew of positive economic data out of the UK throughout 2013, suggesting that the recovery is gaining momentum, and it’s likely that investors’ views towards the UK stock market are reflective of this.

“The increase in sentiment towards US equities was perhaps surprising given the QE taper that began just before Christmas, although US equities outperformed every other global equity market except Japan in 2013. We remain neutral towards the US and see the best opportunities for equity investors currently in the UK, Japan and the Eurozone.”

RiverPeak Wealth Appoints Marianne Hay
Private BankingWealth Management

RiverPeak Wealth Appoints Marianne Hay

Marianne Hay has joined the Advisory Board of RiverPeak Wealth, the newly launched wealth management firm.

Hay, who has headed global wealth and asset management groups including roles as CEO of Europe, Middle East and Africa Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, Citi and Standard Chartered, will offer advice on the growth and development of the business.

Launched in December, RiverPeak Wealth provides portfolio management, investment analysis and financial planning advice.

Nick Parker, RiverPeak Managing Director, commented “We are delighted that Marianne is joining us in an advisory capacity. Her past experience and skills will prove invaluable to us, and our clients, as we grow the business.”.

Hay added “The wealth management market in the UK continues to be fragmented with no clear market leader. RDR has given RiverPeak Wealth an opportunity to develop new ways of providing wealth advice. I am looking forward to helping RiverPeak’s directors meet their ambitious goals over the months ahead.”

RiverPeak Wealth Expands Senior Team
Private BankingWealth Management

RiverPeak Wealth Expands Senior Team

James Powell, former director of private banking at Banque Havilland, is joining newly launched wealth management firm RiverPeak Wealth as Managing Director.

Launched in December, RiverPeak Wealth provides portfolio management, investment analysis and financial planning across London and the South East.

Powell, a private banking and financial planning veteran of 20 years, will be joining former colleague and founder Nick Parker at the helm of the business.

At Banque Havilland, Powell was responsible for establishing and growing the bank’s London branch. Previously, he was a wealth structuring specialist and then a private banker at Citi Private Bank.

Commenting on his new role, Powell said: “RiverPeak is filling the gap in the market for a wealth management and financial planning firm which goes beyond the usual product sell to provide a highly personalised private banking style service that is usually only experienced by the very wealthiest individuals and families. I’m excited about our offering plus the support and interest RiverPeak is already generating amongst UK financial influencers and business leaders, and importantly prospective clients. “