“One of the joys of my role is taking the time to get to know my clients and really understand what they need from their investments. For some it is the requirement to have an income, for others it is the management of their nest egg. When you combine this with their individual risk appetites and circumstances you invariably find that no one solution fits all” says Colin Elwell, Investment Partner.
“I then take that understanding of my client’s requirements and build a portfolio for them using the investment process at Smith and Williamson.” The investment process shares our considerable in-house knowledge and experience to provide each investment manager with the tools to build the ideal portfolio. “It ensures that I am able to harness the knowledge we hold in house to build and manage portfolios suited to my client’s requirements and ensure their money is doing what they need it to. From the client’s perspective they know that I am responsible for the investments they hold and that they can pick up the phone and speak to me at any time”. The investment process has multiple inputs, strategists, sector specialists and outside research to name a few, all of which play their part in ensuring investment managers can keep abreast of current market conditions - maximising opportunities and avoiding the pitfalls that are out there. The final investment decision, however, remains with the investment manager as we find that they have the best understanding of what is suitable for their clients.
An individual’s circumstances and requirements may change over time and it may be necessary to work alongside our colleagues in other departments, from financial advisers to tax specialists. The interaction between the different disciplines at Smith & Williamson is a real bonus for our clients. It means that we can call on them to assist whenever our clients require us to. We have financial advisers working with clients at all stages of their lives, from pension planning at the start of a career, through to the savings phase and various turns in the road that happen throughout our lives - changes in jobs, marriage, the death of loved ones and new additions to the family. Our financial advisers concentrate on the structure of investment vehicles, from ISAs and pensions through to offshore bonds and life assurance. The investment manager can then ensure that the investments themselves remain suitable and provide the returns a client requires in line with their risk profile.
“We look to take things out of the ‘to do drawer’, to take on the administrative burden on behalf of our clients. Investments, pensions, estate planning can all seem like quite dry subjects with vast realms of information to consider, and often daunting for a client to face alone. I see our role as breaking down the complex into understandable information for our clients so they can make informed choices” says Ellie Price, Personal Financial Planning Consultant.
The ongoing relationship between all parties is key to its success. Our investment managers and financial advisers meet regularly with their clients - either in their homes or in offices such as in Salisbury or London. This is not only to make sure that we are on track for the client’s continuing goals but also because we want to hear how they are doing, what the family are up to and that our work is allowing our clients the financial freedom to focus on their own lives, businesses, families rather than their investment portfolios.
At Smith & Williamson we believe in the sharing of best ideas, not only within departments but also between disciplines. Working from different perspectives ensures that we can achieve the best result for our clients. This is an ongoing task and we don’t think that the work stops once investments are placed in the market. Each investment manager keeps the portfolio under review and actively manages the portfolio. Likewise, each financial planner reviews the structures put in place to ensure they remain the most suitable option available. At the heart of it all both are driven by the same simple requirement - to put you and your interests first and foremost.
By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of publication.
The tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in future.
This article was previously published on Smith & Williamson prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.