This is the predicament, which many trustees find themselves contemplating, and ultimately reflect on their client situations. We understand that clients are rightly demanding; they all have high standards, and they have their pressures to respond to.
Making this more complicated for all of us is the fact that the communication and the technology landscape is changing at a faster rate than ever before. Therefore, although we can be satisfied of the great job and stewardship we do for our clients we can never rest on our laurels.
As a result, we have to get better at providing the right advice for clients and building strong, lasting relationships with them at the same time as our regulatory and investment landscape evolves around us.
The first step is to create a wealth plan. Ideally, there needs to be a broader discussion of financial circumstances, aspirations, risk management and succession.
From this broader review, a framework for investment can be developed, together with specific policies on the issues of asset allocation, diversification, the risks of inflation, deflation or currency, along with other management restrictions and constraints.
There would also be a proper costs review and possibly a detailed analysis of hidden fees and the respective performances of different managers and different asset classes. All of this would make the investment process and strategies as transparent as possible.
We need to consider appointing an appropriate investment manager to look after the portfolio and engage together with the Trustee in conducting a preliminary review considering wider circumstances. Trustees that can offer in house capabilities in asset allocation and asset monitoring will be a valuable resource.
The Trustee will also needs access to expertise and will need to know when that expertise is required if their structures are not just to be robust and compliant, but also to provide beneficial solutions to clients.
Therefore, an affective trustee should offer a service-based solution that meets the needs, and circumstances of the client and their families. They can work with the families to define their own wealth management strategies, perhaps even based on a ‘where are we now/where do we want to be’ approach.
In summary, the best trustees, through their capabilities, and by sourcing and having access to the best advice, can become the trusted advisors for clients and families. However, this can only happen, by building trust and reliability over time, getting closer to the client and actively listen to their needs and wants.
Written by Adrian T Mansfield
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