Mark Pentelow, chief executive of Pacific IFA, chose Brewin Dolphin as the firm’s DFM for its independence and willingness to put clients first.
Chelmsford-based Pacific IFA ’s decision to use Brewin Dolphin at the end of 2011 was swayed by chief executive Mark Pentelow’s impression that the discretionary fund manager (DFM) was genuinely interested in the firm.
Pentelow said he met with about 10 DFMs and drew up a shortlist of three.
‘My operations director conducted independent research, and in the end it was an easy decision for Pacific to select Brewin Dolphin,’ he said. ‘In our opinion they were head and shoulders above the rest.’
The main difference that made Brewin Dolphin stand out from the rest was its business development manager, Lisa Dooley.
‘She was the only one to ask us questions about our firm in the first meeting,’ said Pentelow. ‘She said "we want to know about you and your clients and how we can assist you", rather than just launching into a pitch.’
Building a partnership
Pentelow was also impressed with Mark Hampstead, divisional director of Brewin Dolphin’s London office, for showing a similar interest and who had delivered good returns for clients, he said.
‘That personal touch of how they could partner with us was key,’ said Pentelow. ‘Again, Mark took a real interest in building a true partnership.’
He said Brewin supplied Pacific with regular market updates and hosted team events.
‘Mike Lenhoff [Brewin Dolphin chief strategist] came to our meetings to give a talk, too,’ he said. ‘If we want anything, we never have to wait more than a few hours.’
Training for staff
Pentelow said Brewin provided a hand-holding service that included paperwork and back-office training, especially for new staff.
‘Whenever we have a new member of staff, Lisa will come in and sit with them and talk them through what Brewin does,’ he said. ‘Brewin lays on three-course lunches at its offices for clients; the receptionists are friendly and know all of our names.
‘I think it would be impossible to match another DFM with Brewin.’
Pentelow said he would review the DFM market in the second quarter of this year to see if he could find an addition for his panel.
Pentelow said Brewin Dolphin complemented the investment proposition he offered to clients via wrap platforms.
Historically, his clients have accessed Brewin Dolphin via Sipps, offshore bonds and direct portfolios. Brewin’s range of managed portfolios has also been available via the AXA Elevate platform since the beginning of the year, and Pentelow said he expected the range to be added to Zurich’s platform.
‘Although in its earlier stages, the response amongst our clients has been extremely positive and we expect to do a lot of business with Brewin Dolphin via our wrap platform,’ he said.
- Number of adviser clients using the service: 86
Average portfolio size of adviser clients: £187,911
Minimum investment limit for clients using the service: £100,000
I regard Brewin Dolphin as the largest remaining truly independent DFM.
It genuinely cares about the clients and puts them first.
Brewin Dolphin has been providing advice for more than 250 years: what more is there to add?
At a flat fee of 0.8%, it is not the cheapest, but is still relatively competitive.
Brewin Dolphin has yet to put its managed fund service on the Zurich platform. We were one of 14 to be part of the soft launch of Zurich. It has been delayed and Brewin is moving quite slowly.
Customer online viewing
For bespoke customers who want to view their holdings online, Brewin Dolphin could make the service more user friendly.