W&F Q4 2022

www.wealthandfinance-news.com 18 Wealth & Finance International - Q4 2022 Most Innovative Investment Consulting Firm 2022 - London bfinance works for institutional investors around the globe to improve investment outcomes through strategy development, high-quality implementation, and rigorous monitoring. Its key services include manager research and selection, ESG advisory, strategic asset allocation, portfolio design, portfolio monitoring, risk solutions, operational due diligence, and fee reviews. We got in touch with CEO, David Vafai to learn more about this award-winning company. Throughout its work, bfinance’s mission is to support its clients in delivering the best possible investment outcomes for the stakeholders that count on them: pensioners, universities, charities, businesses, families, nations, and individuals. Its clients range from smaller entities with less than $500 million in assets, to very large institutions responsible for investing over $1 trillion, and they are located in more than 40 countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, Africa, and the Americas. With David accentuating that “There is no ‘one size fits all’”, bfinance’s core ethos is to work as an extension of the client’s team. Every service is designed around each investor’s requirements and relationships. This has been central to the firm’s success. David goes on to tell us what exactly makes bfinance stand out from the rest: “We differentiate ourselves from peers through a high-touch, highly customised approach. In manager research, for example, we never use pre-canned ratings or shortlists (‘buy-lists’) but provide clients with coverage of the full manager universe and research based on their specific parameters and priorities – closely supported by a senior expert in the asset class and the broader research team. Our major competitors are large global investment consulting firms, which typically services large client bases, leveraging centralised resources. “In addition, bfinance is purely dedicated to providing advisory services and does not manage money – unlike many peers who have begun offering asset management services during the past few years.” With fewer than 100 staff members making up such a close-knit team, bfinance finds it crucial to select the right people to join it. Its colleagues come from a diverse range of backgrounds, with many having managed money for ‘asset owners’ or ‘asset managers’, and others being drawn from consultancies, banks, academia, and more. The firm strives to maintain an open, collaborative culture in which all questions are welcomed and all staff continue to learn from each other – as well as from clients. This plays an important part especially in the extremely challenging investment climate that institutional investors around the globe are facing this year and beyond, with high market volatility and secular macroeconomic shifts. David says, “This is a climate that brings difficult decisions. Should investors look to enhance sensitivity to inflation, even though relevant asset classes may also increase sensitivity to recession? Should we take advantage of higher yields in fixed income, despite concerns about the effects that further rises in interest rates will have on portfolio value? How can we keep fees and costs down when portfolios are becoming more diversified and complex? What is the future for ‘private market’ investment strategies?” He continues, “It is also a period of reflection and re-evaluation. The market declines of 2022 have put diversification and performance under the spotlight, allowing investors to validate or question approaches. Some asset classes, such as infrastructure, are facing what we believe is their first major test since their maturation. “We are working closely with investors to face current challenges, taking the opportunity to understand, optimise and potentially re-orient portfolios.” Now the company intends to continue to evolve. One area it is focusing on at the moment is developing new ways to support wealth managers and multi family offices in finding more effective, suitable ways to access illiquid investment strategies – a subject which presents a number of challenges. Company: bfinance Contact: David Vafai Email: [email protected] Website: www.bfinance.com Aug22511