Kevin Forbes is a chartered financial planner and one of the four partners at Strategic Solutions. He specialises in the pension marketplace, but also investments. The other partners are investment and trust specialists.
Strategic Solutions is a firm of chartered financial planners based in Bournemouth, covering the south coast from Somerset and Wiltshire, across Dorset to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. It was set up just over two years ago when the four principals of the business decided that their particular skills and experience would blend well together. Its assets under management have grown to around £65 million in the last two years. It has six authorised advisers in total (including the partners), with another three joining in the New Year.
What are the most important factors for you when selecting a discretionary fund manager (DFM)?
The ability of the DFM to blend in and fit the culture of our firm, rather than expecting us to fit theirs is of paramount importance. Our four core values of integrity, professionalism, transparency and the pursuit of quality must be reflected in all of the business partners we choose. It is a cliché, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We take full responsibility for our investment process and client proposition and that cannot be compromised by our choice of DFM. The DFM must be willing to fully engage with us as a firm and support us in supporting our clients.
What will make or break a pitch?
Bland, scripted auto-pilot approaches. Not finding out anything about our business and clients, how we work and how we expect others to work with us. We aren’t interested in flashy sales pitches, expensive offices and faux promises. Making a decision where to place our clients’ money is one we don’t take lightly, at our own model portfolio level or when outsourcing.
What were the reasons for selecting your current providers?
We looked into both quantitative and qualitative measures. We feel the ‘soft facts’ regarding personnel, service proposition and integration into our business are as important as the performance figures and methodology of approach, which we all know can change rapidly. After market research and word of mouth recommendations from trusted sources gave us a short list to approach, we completed due diligence questionnaires we designed ourselves. We then narrowed this down to the three DFMs we felt were the best for our clients and business model, and approached them to agree a charging structure that best helped our clients and fitted in with our proposition.
Total assets outsourced:
Average portfolio size:
DFMs currently used:
Investec Wealth, Quilter, Saltus
What do you value most in a DFM?
On a scale of one to five where five is the greatest
Past performance: 2
Size of firm: 3
Strength of process: 1