The Ansbacher Guide To Wealth Management
Simon Hildrey (ed)
The sponsor of this book is an interesting financial beast, having a history in the United Kingdom that stretches back to 1894, although it has been wholly owned by Qatar National Bank since 2004. Ansbacher has the reputation of being a well-managed bank, known for its specialist lending, particularly in relation to luxury yachts.
Although the Guide is not explicitly focussed on the UK market, it does focus on British issues in regard to taxation. Good examples are the Finance Act 2006 and questions of domicile and residency which are so graphically illustrated by the Gaines-Cooper case: continuing annual attendance at Ascot, paying in advance all of a one-year-old son’s Eton fees, and not missing too much shooting can seriously harm your financial health if it causes HM Treasury to argue that your Pacific Ocean address does not reflect an actual change of residency and domicile. Compact and well-arranged, the Guide explains how wealth managers can help clients move beyond mere financial wellbeing into the sphere of personal contentment.
Any reader hoping for illumination on this transition will find several examples. The case studies at the end of the Guide suggest that some managers display an almost pastoral care of their clients, with one claiming to have ‘changed’, if not ‘saved’, a client’s life (in terms of marriage, health and security).
Some may be surprised by this part, though industry practitioners will not be. It emphasises one of the key, if obvious, points, namely that wealth management is not a science, but should be a personal, tailored service reflecting the fact that all clients are different.
There is some practical advice on the cultures of different firms, how this may be changed by acquisition, and on the critical decision of when to change manager.
Wealth management is long term in nature and one subtle way in which the Guide makes this point is by including some interesting graphs with very long timelines (some going back to 1899), which are much more intellectually interesting to the non-specialist as well as emphasising basic truths about long-term investing. All in all, the Guide suggests that high-net-worth individuals are increasingly taking more responsibility for educating themselves.