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Ex-Coutts duo launch wealth boutique to fight standardisation
by Dylan Lobo on Mar 08, 2013 at 10:44
Former Coutts directors Stephen Black and Ian McElroy have launched a wealth boutique targeting clients disillusioned with standardised offerings.
The Newcastle-based firm Tier One Capital (TOC) offers cash management, investment management, mortgage and insurance services, and gives clients the option of performance-related fees.
Black (top left) and McElroy’s (right) paths first crossed at Barclays Wealth in 2007 and the duo went on to have a spell at Kleinwort Benson. They joined Coutts in June 2011 before leaving the private bank in July 2012 and February 2013 respectively.
Black told Wealth Manager the pair had been thinking about going it alone for some time.
‘We originally started playing around with the idea of going independent a few years ago when we were coming out of Barclays Wealth,' Black said.
'At that time we thought the changes we were seeing in the industry generally were pushing the larger firms towards standardisation.’
He believes the retail distribution review and credit crunch have accelerated this shift, as increased regulatory requirements and downward pressure on margins mean larger firms need greater economies of scale to function.
‘From our perspective, the downside of this is that standardisation generally equates to mediocrity, and in the high net worth space such a controlled and rigid approach has far too much of a retail feel about it. Advisers’ books can easily become overly large and service levels materially suffer,’ Black said.
Black said one of the benefits of being independent is the capacity to be innovative and ensure the clients get the best possible service and experience.
'Our approach has always tended to begin with a blank sheet of paper and, after assessing what the client is looking for, we look to construct something uniquely suited to each individual client,' Black said.
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