With the festive season fast approaching thoughts are turning to what presents we might find under our Christmas trees this festive season.
So what will be on the industry’s wishlist? For any firm that has not had a knock on the door from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) lately, it will surely be that they can get through the next two weeks without one. Wealth Manager revealed back in May that the regulator was planning to visit a number of private client firms at the end of the year to assess their progress on improving suitability.
For Coutts, the private bank will be hoping that it can finally conclude its painstaking suitability review, which it said was ‘well-advanced’, earlier this year. The process is now 22 months overdue and has already cost the firm £139 million, with a further £64 million set aside back in July.
Over at Charles Stanley, the powers that be will be wishing that all of the investment managers it had its pay talks with finally agree to the terms. The firm told us last month that it had agreed terms with staff responsible for 90% of its funds under management and administration. The process has dragged out for the best past of 16 months and the company has previously admitted that the situation had prevented it from trying to hire teams from rivals.
Speaking of which, a number of other wealth firms may be secretly hoping that the firm is not successful in convincing those remaining holdouts.
Redmayne-Bentley has hired seven ex-Charles Stanley investment managers already this year and would no doubt be happy to have a crack at luring more assets away from rivals.
Elsewhere, investors in listed players, such as Brewin Dolphin, WH Ireland and Walker Crips will be keeping their fingers crossed that their holding is the next company to be acquired at a premium. Their ranks will be bolstered by the spin out of Old Mutual Wealth next year, with the success of its initial public offering set to provide a gauge of investors’ appetite for the sector in the current climate.
The robo-advisers will also be praying that investor sentiment holds up in their relentless hunt for assets and scale.
The team at Wealth Manager would like to wish you a merry Christmas and here’s to a successful and prosperous 2017.