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  1. Wealth
July 6, 2012

Next Gen Networking Forums Are Good News For HNWs and Advisors

By Spear's

It’s often said that successful private bankers need white hair. Only then, the argument runs, can they meet HNWs as equals.

IT’S OFTEN SAID that successful private bankers need white hair. Only then, the argument runs, can they meet HNWs as equals.

While I agree that experience is important – especially in a world where many bankers are so young that they’ve never run money through a recession – it should not be the defining factor.

On the whole, under 35s have a greater appetite for training than their elders and are much less inclined to settle for threshold qualifications, preferring instead to push on to the Chartered Institute of Securities & Investment’s premier qualifications: the Master’s, Diploma and PCIAM.

Yet despite their willingness and aptitude, many struggle to build books of over £50 million. That puts them in the firing line as their employers judge their performance in order of increasing assets under management, meeting revenue targets, attracting new clients and satisfying current clients.

It is thus excellent news for HNWs and the next generation of advisors that two networking forums have sprung up to break the cycle. Between them, they offer different but complementary opportunities to relax and refer business, meaning that the choice and quality of advice will improve going forward.
The largest, at 600 members, is the Young Professionals Forum. Run by Will Walker-Arnott and Philip Norman-Butler at Charles Stanley, its quarterly drinks are everywhere from the Royal Ballet School to the Old Bailey to Boodles.
The lure is that it’s free and not just limited to city professions, being open to the art, music and theatre worlds too.
Yet despite successes which include 250 people attending a Bonhams photography exhibition last May, there are drawbacks. Branded the Young Professionals Forum, it might, for example, deter those who have made head of department before the age of 35. Equally, as older advisors are better positioned to refer business, the cut-off age of 35 may mean one is networking with people who don’t have many clients to pass on.
As such, David Bell’s Private Client Dining Club offers an interesting alternative. Through dinners of 50 at central London locations from the Ivy to El Cantara, its members not only get more one-on-one time, but also because the entry criteria is based on experience not age, they mature and rise through the private client system together.
‘The dining club allows professional advisors to form more meaningful relationships,’ says Bell, a senior wealth planner at Lombard Odier. ‘Firms are happy to pay the £150-per-annum membership fee because the quality of connections created is high.’
Irrespective of one’s preference, it’s of great value to the private client community that these forums have sprung up. Hats off to their founders, and here’s to a brighter future for all.

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