Over 100 days into the integration of the Schroders and Cazenove private client divisions, head of wealth management Andrew Ross says that with a unified management structure now in place, he is confident the enlarged entity can become the ‘pre-eminent wealth manager in the UK and Channel Islands’.
Although there are a number of key decisions still to be made, most notably on the branding of the enlarged entity, he said these will be confirmed when the two companies officially merge onto one platform in the second half of next year.
At this point, the enlarged group will adopt a unified charging structure, although Ross (pictured) said that overall charges across both firms are very similar on a total expense ratio basis.
Likewise, both divisions will come under the same remuneration structure at this point, although he noted once again there were similarities.
‘The combined business is broader, deeper and stronger than the businesses were on their own, which enables us to put clear water between us and the competition,’ Ross said.
The unified management team comprises Philip Mallinckrodt at its helm, Ross as head of UK wealth management; David Austen as head of financial planning, Mary-Anne Daly as head of private clients; and Alex Whitburn as head of banking.
Jeremy Hervey, meanwhile, steps back from charities to run teams of private client investment managers, alongside Kate Leppard who takes on a similar role and will also assume charge of of the firm's regional proposition. Both teams will have a mixture of Schroders and Cazenove managers to boost the integration process.
After the deal, and with around £24.2 billion in private client assets in the UK and Channel Islands, Ross said the combined business is likely to be ‘one if not the leading multi-family office’.
He estimates that half of total assets are currently run on behalf of large families.
The wealth head said existing clients had reacted positively to the deal, with minimal disruption so far, and he is encouraged by the fact they have continued to attract new business, which is rare during the time of a merger.
‘The key thing with this is that the client experience must not change. What I was absolutely adamant about is that any improvement or synergies made goes on behind the curtains on the support platforms. There have been no changes to the teams looking after clients. It is just business as usual,’ he added.
The deal also brings financial planning capability into Schroders and allows Cazenove to offer its clients private banking and access to direct global equities, and Ross said clients are now starting to be offered the new services.
As the impact of the RDR really starts to be felt, Ross anticipates further downward pressure on fees due to transparency and lower nominal returns.