For high net worth clients, the central focus of any investment advice is on their wishes and expectations. The goal is to achieve added value for the client, relative to the risk undertaken and the developments on the financial markets. What this means in detail is explained in this interview with Christophe Grünig, Head of Wealth management of the Vontobel Group.
Christophe Grünig, what is the success of your company’s investment advice based on?
The investment advice that our clients are entitled to expect is based on three pillars: First, they benefit from our integrated business model comprising Private Banking, As- set Management and Investment Banking. We are able to call upon all this expertise – especially research – and put it to use for our clients; it flows without time delay into the preparation of investment proposals.
What are the other two pillars?
The second pillar is our active investment style across regions, asset classes and currencies, an approach we care- fully cultivate because we are convinced it is best. This is in contrast to a passive philosophy, which merely reflects a given index. We pay particular attention to emerging global changes, such as population growth in emerging markets. Global Change as a Megatrend offers opportunities for superior returns.
And the third success factor?
We profile our clients using elements from behavioral finance. Based on specific questions, clients’ situations and patterns of behavior are determined in order to derive the best possible strategy for them. This disciplined focus on a clear investment strategy leads to better longer-term performance.
What does this mean for clients concretely?
If a client decides to seek advice from us, we carefully and comprehensively analyse his personal situation, his wishes and objectives. On this basis, we integrate insights from behavioural finance, taking into account of course how much knowledge the client himself brings to the table. Then, together we define the investment and risk strategy. Based on this starting point, the client advisor develops a personal investment proposal for the client.
How is this investment proposal developed?
Primarily, the investment proposal has to fit with the personal risk-return profile of the client and the goals he has defined. In preparing it, the client advisor is supported by our advanced IT systems as well as the combined expertise of our integrated bank. But the final decision to implement it is still the client’s to make.
How is the client relationship structured following this decision?
On an opportunistic basis, the client receives appropriate buy and sell recommendations for his portfolio from our investment specialists. His portfolio is systematically adjusted on a daily basis – and if the portfolio deviates from the investment strategy due to market volatility or changes in the recommendations, the client advisor notifies the client promptly and presents concrete proposals for adjusting it. Thus, the client is always assured that his portfolio is in agreement with his investment strategy. At regular intervals, we also check whether the client’s personal situation – and therefore his needs – may have changed, too.
Do investment advisory clients have a choice between various mandates?
Yes. Our clients can choose between three different advisory mandates, each with a different scope of services. The individuality of each client is our priority. We believe it is important that the client gets what best matches his needs.
Investment advisory services – the client has the choice
The classic advisory mandate is aimed at clients with the desire for traditional Private Banking, information and advisory services. The central point of contact is the personal client advisor. He advises and assists clients in all aspects of investment advice and develops together with the client a customized solution. The portfolio is monitored daily on a systematic basis. The client makes his own choice how frequently he wishes to be contacted. Depending on the occasion, the client receives appropriate buy and sell recommendations based on the experience of the bank’s investment specialists. Rounding out the service are regular reporting, plus accounting, credit card and payment services.
Advisory mandate premium
The advisory mandate premium is aimed at clients who desire more proactive investment advice that goes beyond that of the classic advisory mandate. Actively and opportunistically, the client advisor proposes attractive investment proposals to the client. At regular intervals (e.g. every three months), the portfolio undergoes a thorough review. This process is overseen by specialists in Investment Consulting. In addition, individual asset and performance reporting, as well as comprehensive tax reporting, are also included.
Advisory mandate expert
With the advisory mandate expert, the client receives direct access to specialists in Investment Consulting and thus to expert knowledge in individual asset classes. The Investment Consultants provide valuable investment information first-hand, on a timely basis. Together, individual trading strategies, for example to hedge against market risks, are developed and implemented. At the request of the client, the client advisor can take daily contact with the client. Of course this mandate also includes regular portfolio analysis and advice.
What is the procedure for proving a missing or lost Will?
By Alexa Payet, Partner at Bolt Burdon and listed specialist in the Certainty
Contentious Probate Hub & Area
When an individual dies it is necessary to search their paperwork to establish whether they made a Will and gather information regarding their estate. This is important because the personal representatives of the estate have a legal duty to distribute the estate correctly and could be held financially responsible for any mistakes made through any breach of duty.
Where a Will cannot be found but is believed to exist there are a number of steps that can be taken to help confirm its existence, including (but not limited to) the following:
- making enquiries of the deceased’s family and friends;
- making enquiries with the deceased’s professional advisors;
- instructing The National Will Register to undertake a Certainty Will Search.
Presumption of revocation
Where the original Will is known to have been in the testator’s possession before their death and cannot be located afterwards, there is a rebuttable presumption that the Will was destroyed by the testator with the intention of revoking it. If an order for the proof of a copy is to be obtained then this presumption must be rebutted.
Procedure for proving a copy Will
The procedure for proving a copy Will is set out in Rule 54 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 (‘NCPR’).
The application is made to the Probate Registry at which the application for the grant will be made and the order can be made by a district judge or registrar.
The application must be supported by evidence in the form of an affidavit (although during the global pandemic the rules have been amended by the Non-Contentious Probate (Amendment) Rules 2020, SI 2020/1059, to provide for the use of witness statements as an alternative to affidavits).
The evidence must set out the grounds of the application and any available evidence that the applicant can adduce as to the Will’s existence after the death of the testator or, where there is no such evidence, the facts on which the applicant relies to rebut the presumption that the Will was destroyed by the testator during his/her life.
The applicant must ensure that the Court has the best available evidence of what happened to the testator’s Will in order that effect may be given to his/her testamentary wishes.
It is important to understand that the applicant does not need to demonstrate that the Will has been lost (it is the fact of its loss which gives rise to the presumption of revocation). Instead, the applicant must establish, by evidence, that the Will was not in fact revoked.
What is a Certainty Will Search and why is it necessary?
A Certainty Will Search searches for Wills that have been registered on The National Will Register (circa 8.7 million Will registrations in the system) and for Wills that have not yet been registered in geographically targeted areas where the deceased used to live and/or work. A Certainty Will Search is extremely important as it will be necessary to notify the probate registry of any persons who would be prejudiced by the grant if the copy Will is proved. If no such person exists then the registrar is more likely to grant the application. Alternatively, if such a person does exist then you should seek to obtain their written consent to the application. The written consents can then be lodged with (or following) your application.
Oil prices rise as investors look to higher demand seen in second half
By Shadia Nasralla
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices climbed on Tuesday as optimism that government stimulus will eventually lift global economic growth and oil demand trumped concerns that renewed COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns globally are cooling fuel consumption.
Brent crude futures for March rose 72 cents to $55.47 a barrel by 1152 GMT after slipping 35 cents in the previous session.
“The perception that any retracement will be quick as confidence in economic and oil demand recovery is unlikely to fade away,” said PVM analysts in a note.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $52.65 a barrel, up 29 cents. There was no settlement on Monday as U.S. markets were closed for a public holiday. Front-month February WTI futures expire on Wednesday.
Investors are upbeat about demand in China, the world’s top crude oil importer, after data released on Monday showed its refinery output rose 3% to a new record in 2020.
China also avoided an economic contraction last year.
Investors are watching out for U.S. oil inventory data from the industry association API, due on Wednesday, the same day U.S. President-elect Biden’s inauguration speech will likely give details on the country’s $1.9 trillion aid package.
The International Energy Agency cut its outlook for oil demand in 2021, but pointed to a recovery in demand in the second half of the year to an annual average of 96.6 million barrels per day.
“Border closures, social distancing measures and shutdowns…will continue to constrain fuel demand until vaccines are more widely distributed, most likely only by the second half of the year,” it said in its monthly report.
(Additional reporting by Florence Tan, editing by Louise Heavens)
Can Thematic Investing provide investors with growth opportunities in uncertain times?
New whitepaper from CAMRADATA explores
CAMRADATA’s latest whitepaper on Thematic Investing, considers the role this type of investing can play in asset management and explores trends that can permeate society and traverse sectors. The whitepaper includes insights from guests who attended a virtual roundtable on Thematic Investing hosted by CAMRADATA in November, including representatives from CPR Asset Management, Sarasin & Partners, Impact Investing Institute, PwC, Quilter Cheviot, Scottish Widows and Stonehage Fleming.
Sean Thompson, Managing Director, CAMRADATA said, “In these seminal times, thematic investing has the potential to shape how the future unfolds. Yet running a successful thematic fund is no easy feat – it is a bit like navigating unchartered waters trying to identify the trends and the long-term opportunities.
“Trends such as AI and biotechnology are still in their relative early days, for example, and global economies are undergoing dramatic changes. But mapping out certain trends, identifying potential sustainable returns through a unifying thread that spans multiple sectors, could help future-proof investments. “Our roundtable guests considered current key themes, which themes worked well, and which have not and how thematic investors could identify trends with the potential to offer future growth.”
The guests named themes they currently like which included artificial intelligence, China, climate change, clean energy, automation, evolving consumption, ageing, digitalisation, water, waste management, biodiversity, and board diversity.
After discussing themes that have worked or not, the guests looked at total allocation to themed funds, and whether clients might be blinded by themes to the overall risk exposure in their portfolios.
Key takeaway points were:
- Themes have a habit of coming and going. One guest recognised that automation and robotics, for example, were cyclical, which means that investors will have to think carefully about entry-points.
- It was agreed that the commodities ‘super cycle’ of the 2000s came about with the economic development of China. Many commodities-based products found their way into mainstream investing, but this is unlikely to happen again.
- One guest was surprised by some of the themes that interested their customers; with their research showing that Board Diversity was almost the lowest-ranking concern among the ESG choices they listed.
- There was correlation between environmental impact and social benefits to investing. The theme that concerns the Impact Investing Institute, which is less than two years old, is improved measurement of such relationships.
- In terms of successful themes, one clear winner due to COVID had been digitalisation.
- One theme that has not done so well is the Ageing theme focused on older people travelling and enjoying experiences abroad later in life.
- One guest said their firm used themes for ideas generation, not as a shortcut for portfolio construction. They said themes lead to good ideas, but they then spend at least three months researching a stock, so that the best themes are represented by the best investments.
- The final point was that there are sensitivities for any global investor in allocating to themes, even the biggest one of all, Climate Change.
- But on a positive note, one guest added if all stakeholders can resolve their differences on definitions such as impact and ethical investing, then more capital will be readily transferred into opportunities.
The whitepaper also features two articles from the sponsors offering valuable additional insight. These are:
- CPR Asset Management: ‘Central Banks: leading the path towards Impact Investing’
- Sarasin & Partners: ‘Theme or fad? How to invest for the long term’
To download the Thematic Investing whitepaper, click here
For more information on CAMRADATA visit www.camradata.com
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