Wealth Management in 2022
Private wealth has changed dramatically in the previous two years. Some individuals have significantly increased their wealth. However, during the last six months, the conflict and COVID's economic repercussions have produced situations that have resulted in substantial losses for some and caused others to restructure their reserves. This article will attempt to discuss these.
Nothing in this article should be construed as advice of any kind or solicitation to work and/or invest with the author or Finance Monthly. These are the thoughts and beliefs of the author based on his personal experience and knowledge. Readers should always consult their own advisers on their wealth-related decisions.
How has the wealth management world developed recently and what has influenced this?
The epidemic and the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian war were the key variables impacting the wealth management business in the last 2 years. However, these events have mainly influenced the assets themselves rather than how money and other assets are managed.
The movement of the Standard and Poors 500 clearly illustrates these tendencies. This index monitors the weighted average of the share prices of 500 big businesses listed on US stock exchanges.
How has the pandemic affected the wealth management landscape?
During the pandemic
Financial market developments in the first half of the reporting period were heavily biased toward equity markets and, in particular, riskier assets. Overall, this had a twofold effect: on the one hand, wealth management firms and their customers who switched in good times were able to expect up to triple-digit returns; on the other hand, the resulting flood of money led to a significant increase in the real estate sector and other markets.
In this situation, not only were those with substantial savings able to increase their wealth, but also many new people joined the club. They typically came from the following industries:
- Disruptive start-ups, including video chat apps or work from home, and blockchain solution developers
- Cryptocurrency and NFT traders
- Executives from home delivery companies
- Executives from transportation and logistics companies
- Companies dealing in biotech and healthcare, especially solutions against COVID-19
Of course, there were some short-term losers in this situation, including real estate developers, restaurant operators, and some players in the construction industry.
After a pandemic, in a war
The weakening of the virus and the gradual increase in general immunity made it seem for a short time that economic life would remain stagnant at this high level for some time. But experts had already sounded the alarm: we are facing a global crisis and associated inflation due to the labour shortages caused by the pandemic and the massive problems in the supply chain. Moreover, inflation has been further exacerbated by the escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022, skyrocketing oil and energy prices worldwide. And a major attack on the crypto market has also had a serious negative impact on financial markets already in a downtrend (especially the riskiest cryptocurrencies).
Those who did not act in time were either stuck in their positions on the stock market and the crypto market for an unpredictable period or suffered significant losses.
While 2020 and 2021 may have been a time for wealth accumulation, today's focus is on wealth preservation.
What are the most common misconceptions that wealth owners have about wealth management?
High net worth individuals and the market need fewer asset management experts
Research shows that high net worth individuals think about services quite differently than one might initially assume. For example, common sense and market logic would dictate that the number of wealth management professionals should decline during a crisis. A lower number of wealth management professionals are needed when overall wealth drops. On the contrary, research shows that demand tends to move toward asset management firms precisely because a more crisis-resistant portfolio needs to be built. Only assets managed by several firms with different strategies can be more crisis-resilient than a diversified portfolio.
Investing in Fortune 500 firms equals a balanced portfolio
Over the last ten years, many investors have depended only on the trendiest stock exchange companies. However, this strategy is only viable until there is a bull market (trending upward). Those who have followed this strategy may now realise that it makes sense to diversify much more broadly because the negative trend affects not just one sector but the entire stock market, almost without exception.
Instead of focusing on high-profile growth businesses, you may diversify your portfolio by investing in value stocks and stocks with varying market capitalisation to gain exposure to many industries. Furthermore, investing in an exchange-traded fund allows you to diversify and actively manage your assets without having to hire a financial manager.
Wealth management services that are prohibitively pricey
Many consumers misperception that this service is pricey due mainly to comparisons with typical bank costs. Private banking, asset management, and fiduciary services are more expensive than standard bank rates. However, they also offer considerably more significant potential for value generation. A professionally managed portfolio has a markedly better chance of generating significant returns in the short and long term.
Larger service providers offer better solutions in wealth management
Although many people believe that larger companies provide a higher level of service, and it may be true, this is an issue that should be considered from the perspective of individual preferences.
While small boutique agencies probably serve fewer clients than the market-leading large firms, they are also likely to devote more attention to individual clients. And it's not difficult to bring in additional staff to assist when needed.
With a larger asset management firm, the benefits of decades of experience, a high-quality track record, or standardised processes are more likely to be reasons to choose. In addition, larger institutions may not cater to customers with less than £5 million in investable assets or may only give restricted services to such clients.
What are the best practices in auditing a client’s needs?
In this rapidly changing environment, wealth management firms are doing everything they can to understand the needs of their clients comprehensively and to maintain and increase the assets under management.
To do this, they apply the following best practices:
- Close personal contact: Although research shows that the quality of the personal relationship is no longer the main criterion for all clients when choosing a wealth management firm, the quality of the service is significantly improved by building a close relationship. During difficult times, the contact person can stay in touch with the client through different channels (face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and digital channels). In such cases, it is essential to address risk tolerance, future plans, and liquidity needs.
- Digital reporting: While a few years ago, it was not uncommon for clients to not be able to receive information immediately in all cases, in 2022, it is a legitimate expectation that they will be able to know the status of their portfolio instantly through a cloud-based tool or mobile application.
- Demand continuous feedback: It can also be helpful to review customer needs for specific messages and transactions. This can be done through newsletters and various digital feedback tools.
How to design a successful wealth management plan? What would be the first course of action?
When creating a wealth management plan, professional service providers typically begin with an inventory of existing assets. Assets of five million pounds can be considered a diversified portfolio that includes several types of assets. These may include:
- Foreign currency
- Equity investments in companies
- Other money market instruments
- Real estate
- Movable assets (e.g. motor vehicles or high-quality furniture, antiques)
- Works of art acquired specifically to increase wealth.
Asset management firms evaluate this framework and learn about the client's thoughts as a first step. While some people do not care about the details, others are concerned with minor details.
Therefore, it is vital to assess the current situation and determine where the client wants to go in the short, medium, and long term. An overview of the structure is also important because an easily liquidated asset consisting solely of listed assets requires the management of artefacts and real estate.
As a result of the discussion, the trustee develops an overall picture based on which they create an asset management plan. This may include the creation of an appropriate legal form, such as the establishment of a trust for the proper management and simple inheritance of real estate and business assets.
Are any significant changes expected in wealth management in the UK in the upcoming years?
One of the most significant global trends for the future may be a considerable increase in the number of high-net-worth individuals. Of course, this process has not just started in recent years. However, start-ups and cryptocurrencies have contributed significantly to democratising the path to wealth, making it accessible to an ever-increasing number of people.
The digitisation of the field and the use of artificial intelligence, neural networks, and learning algorithms are constantly improving the quality of services and the customer experience in countries around the world. Likely future trends include the proliferation of chatbots, which make contact even easier, and the further personalisation of portfolio management.
While the number of Russian oligarchs residing in the UK is not publicly available, at the time of writing, a significant number of them seem to have been restricted in connection with the war between Russia and Ukraine. This restriction primarily includes a complete freeze on assets managed here, including trusts belonging to them that have been uncovered to date - more than £10 billion in total. How the war will end, no one knows at this point. However, there is a good chance of long-term asset freezes that will negatively impact the value of all assets managed by the UK wealth management sector.
Other expected trends affecting the future of the industry:
- Technology is lowering barriers to access, making some of the services offered by the industry accessible to the less affluent.
- Start-ups from the technology sector will occupy part of the market.
- In addition to local structures, the role of global legal solutions will likely be strengthened.
- In addition to personal recommendations, online ratings and feedback, I believe, will become increasingly crucial in choosing wealth management providers.
What are the top tips for wealth preservation in 2022?
2022 - Inflation, economic downturn, stock market highs and lows, cryptocurrency crash. Even with the benefit of hindsight, it will not be easy to review this year's events, even now that we are in it! However, chances are, this year will be more about wealth preservation than significant gains. So let us consider some tips on how to preserve the value of your portfolio:
- Always pay attention to your portfolio! If you manage your portfolio yourself or have entrusted it to a professional service provider, make sure you know its current status. Many online solutions and your portfolio manager can help you with this.
- If possible, you should consult a professional wealth management adviser. When you bring in a financial adviser, you have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a solid safety net to protect the value of your assets.
- Choose less risky investments! Suppose you are thinking about restructuring your wealth. In that case, it's a good time to choose safer but lower-risk investments for the long term - such as a stock index, a government bond, but even more so real estate or a unique piece of art.
- Diversify your portfolio! Unfortunately, most often than not, this is only possible, say, when the bear market has bottomed out. However, the trends are pointing downwards for now. In such a situation, it makes sense to minimise risky assets and instead choose a variety of assets so that the rest of your portfolio can offset any downside.
2022 is the third successive year that confirms we live in very exciting and eventful times. It is truly a historical time - with all its pros and cons. However, the economy is becoming more and more unpredictable, so you may want to consider wealth management and protection as an integral part of wealth creation.
About Ramesan Doraisami
Ramesan Doraisami is an entrepreneur, investor, business adviser and international professional Speaker.
For more than 20 years, he has been investing, training entrepreneurs and working with other investors in entrepreneurship and business. During this time, he created several businesses, both as his ventures and on behalf of global clients.
In 2013 he founded Azalea Ventures Limited as his investment firm and a global consulting firm, LCL Group, based in London. For the last nine years, he has worked with start-ups and small business owners as an investor, mentor, and adviser to help entrepreneurs generate personal wealth through their businesses.
Recently Ramesan launched the Entrepreneur Success Foundry, dedicated to providing much-needed training and education to both current and would-be entrepreneurs, significantly improving their success potential. Ramesan intends to share his knowledge and extensive experience with a more significant number of entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneur Success Foundry.
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