Tailored offering vital to HNWIs

17-Jun-2014

By Krystine Lumanta

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High net worth individuals (HNWI) and ultra-HNWIs require completely bespoke services and support, according to a multi-family office director.

“What we’ve seen, and the trend coming out of the United States is exactly the same, is that the HNWI and ultra-HNWI space is going to need to be treated differently,” EWM Group managing director Brad Scott told financialobserver.

“They need a different service offering because [a traditional, off-the-shelf offering] is not going to cut it in the private banking space and it’s not going to cut it in just the mass affluent space either, which a lot of the investment banks are dealing with, though there is a space for that and all of those groups have a role with our clients.

“But clients are looking for a bespoke, independent service that’s tailored specifically for the type of clients that they are.”

Scott said the various elements involved in managing HNWIs and ultra-HNWIs had not yet consolidated in Australia, as wealth management, investment governance, philanthropy, reporting and administration, in addition to the advisers for property, lawyers and accountants, were still handled separately.

That resulted in a fragmented process and experience for the investor, he said.

“Part of the challenge with a big organisation is that tailoring something very bespoke is sometimes not scalable,” he said.

“From that point of view, for a firm that deals with financial assets, they’re not necessarily going to put in the legal and compliance requirements to advise clients on property and the property guys don’t want to get into the financial assets space, for example.”

In addition, there was not generally one service provider that was capable of putting together an overall strategy policy around the HNWI levers, he said.

“We spend a lot of time on investment governance and the strategy and policy work because if the client goes to an investment bank or broking house, they come with an asset allocation around the clients’ equity portfolio and financial assets, and they might have property interest and private equity interest, philanthropic work, et cetera,” he said.

“The absolute vital part of our business is that we’re independent, but we’re also conflict-free, so we’re not looking to replace any adviser – we’re working within the team and making the process work effectively.”

Scott founded EWM Group in 2005, and it was the first multi-family office in Queensland and the second nationally.

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