Whether you have recently inherited or want to ensure your estate is secure, taking the decision to hire a private wealth manager requires a lot of thought. For those, in particular, without much experience with investing, finding the right questions to ask is of paramount importance. Here are some key considerations when deciding if a personal wealth management service is right for you.
What services do you need?
Firstly, it’s best to determine exactly what services you’ll need. Are you purely looking for advice, or do you also require wealth planning or trust services? Personal wealth managers typically specialise in investments and planning, but some offer additional services such as international tax advice which may be of interest if you are an ex-pat or a non-domiciliary living in the UK.
Other managers offer more specialist services targeted to high net worth individuals such as art appraisal and aircraft leasing, but these should be peripheral with the core competency being in investing and planning.
What are you hoping to achieve?
Give some thought to what it is you want from your wealth manager and from your estate. Having objectives in place will help to determine what kind of return you want from your investments, the level of risk you are prepared to engage in and what kind of income needs you have for yourself and your family. If you need help to identify your goals, you may need to choose a service that is set up to offer such assistance.
How much involvement do you require?
Another key consideration when looking into personal wealth management is how involved you want to be in investment decisions. For individuals with a good understanding of investing or who wish to be actively involved, a non-discretionary manager may be the best fit. In this relationship, the private wealth manager seeks permission from the client before making investment decisions or changing the portfolio.
Others, however, have limited knowledge, time or desire to engage in decisions, in which case a manager with full discretion would be the better option. In this case, once a plan has been agreed, the manager has the freedom to make any decisions they feel are necessary without asking permission from the client.
The route you choose is also related to the type of wealth management you are looking for. A bank, for example, may provide a fully discretionary service, while brokerage firms can provide either type of service, depending on what you’re looking for, and family offices at a chartered accountants firm may sit somewhere between the two.
Once you have a shortlist of personal wealth managers you’d like to see, you can begin meeting with them to get a feel for whether they are right for you. During these meetings, it’s a good idea to ask them about short and long term performance from portfolios that are similar to yours. Although the returns of these can’t guarantee the success of your portfolio, it will give you an idea of how and where investments are made and on what timescales.
Taking time to think through the above points and research thoroughly before meeting with personal wealth managers should ease the process of finding the right one, meaning you can get on with keeping your finances and estate secure.