Trustees & Charities
Our investment services for trustees have been specifically designed to provide robust and cost-effective portfolio management in order to help you meet your investment objectives and legal responsibilities. One of our main attributes is that our Chief Investment Officer, Paul Willans, has a background in professional practice, having most recently been a private client partner of a large accountancy practice, and is also a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). Consequently, we have a thorough appreciation of trustees’ needs and expectations, and our approach dovetails with the services provided by other professional advisers. Our core services for trustees include:
We believe that professional investment management is a combination of effective strategy and prudent investment selection, delivered in a consistently reliable and efficient manner. Our portfolio services are primarily offered on a discretionary basis, as most trustees prefer to delegate management, rather than agreeing each and every investment recommendation prior to implementation. However, we also offer an advisory service for trustees who prefer a more ‘hands-on’ approach, or where trustees require only strategic advice in respect of asset allocation or risk mitigation.
Of course, all investment involves risk, but it should be quantifiable and in line with a trust’s deed or statement of investment policy. Equally so, each underlying investment, together with the overall portfolio, must be capable of delivering effective returns at a reasonable cost. Research has proven that most fund managers under-perform their benchmarks, despite charging considerably more than non-managed, index-tracking funds – according to CityWire, in the five years up to December 2010, only 31% of fund managers (in the ten largest sectors) outperformed their respective benchmarks.
Lower costs, greater choice
In order to avoid this risk, and to keep charges at an acceptable level, our investment strategy focuses the core element of the portfolio on achieving exposure to markets in a highly accurate, yet low-cost manner, by using index-tracking funds. This allows the satellite element of the portfolio to make the most of tactical opportunities, using funds that have a high probability of outperformance or achieving specific goals. This combination enhances consistency of return, while reducing overall costs. In addition, our multi-asset class approach provides access to a wide range of investment areas, such as property, cash and alternative investments, as well as shares, thus avoiding over-exposure to potentially volatile asset classes. As would be expected, all decisions are made on the basis of comprehensive quantitative and qualitative research.
In line with professional practice, our services are charged on a fee basis, with any commission and fund manager discounts fully rebated. Fees enable us to use non-commission paying investments, as well as avoiding any potential conflicts of interest. It also means that clients do not end up cross-subsidising each other, which is a common situation where commissions are retained, and therefore allows us to draw from a wider range of investment options. It is a pleasant surprise for many clients that fees can reduce costs significantly, thus providing a better combination of objectivity and value for money than the traditional commission-based model.
Our use of innovative platform technology gives investors on-line access to up-to-date portfolio valuations and transaction information through our secure, password-protected website. In addition, we keep trustees informed with regular market commentaries and comprehensive six-monthly valuation reports.
Incorporating the above features, we are able to offer a personal yet professional level of service.
The value of investments, and income from them, can go down as well as up, and investors may not get back the original amount invested. Where overseas investments are held, the rate of currency exchange may cause their value to go down as well as up. Investments in emerging markets are by their nature higher risk and potentially more volatile than those in inherent, established markets.
Portfolio Analysis and Support Services
From time to time, it can be helpful for trustees to seek independent analysis of their portfolio strategy and investment profile, in order to assess whether they are meeting their objectives and fulfilling their statutory responsibilities.
Our portfolio analysis service is designed to provide an objective and forensic assessment of a portfolio’s strategy and returns, by identifying to what extent these returns can be attributed to asset allocation or stock selection, and by assessing the degree of risk taken to achieve returns.
We are also able to assist charitable trustees in reviewing their Statement of Investment Policy and existing investment strategies, in order to ensure that they are up to date and compatible with the trustees’ objectives.
As with all our services, we charge for our advice on a pure fee basis with all commissions and any fund manager discounts rebated. Prior to accepting your instructions we will confirm the basis of our fees and terms and conditions.