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  1. Wealth
January 9, 2013

Smith & Williamson’s Unusual Wealth Management Approach

By Spear's

Smith & Williamson are standing out as one of the best firms of 2012, which is interesting given their unusual approach to wealth management.

The upcoming Spear’s Index, to be published in the next issue of the magazine, takes the pulse of London’s high net worth wealth management scene.

We have been reminded of the professionalism, financial expertise and, occasionally, eccentricities of the leading wealth managers. We have also learnt of the exceptionally strong performance of some houses, with Smith & Williamson standing out as one of the best firms of 2012.

This is especially interesting as they favour a rather unusual approach to wealth management.

The Moorgate firm eschews the typical approach, where investment policy is dictated by senior managers who have little or no client contact.

Instead, they favour a system in which each director is personally responsible for client investment strategies and service delivery.

As Peter Fernandes, Head of Private Client Investment Management, has told Spear’s before: ‘We vehemently believe that centralised investment processes suppress the talent of individuals. The people who are best equipped to deliver HNW needs are the people who deal with them face to face.’

It works, as their ARC data shows. Smith and Williamson’s 2012 Risk Vs Return figures over a range of model portfolios were among the best out of the 25 firms we will be profiling in the Index, showing them to be one of the most consistent performing wealth managers in the space.

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Chris Kenny, a director in the Investment Management team who will feature in the Index, puts the firm’s continued success down to three factors: ‘Adopting a risk aware approach, taking incremental decisions and being very flexible in our investment outlook.’

He also highlights the importance of their unconventional approach, saying ‘the absence of a CIO has kept us protected from becoming too convinced of our own genius.’
Read more from Wealth Wednesday

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