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Wealth Manager: How Close plans to become the people's wealth manager

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by Danielle Levy on Sep 12, 2013 at 00:01

Few firms in the wealth management sector can boast of catering for the financial planning and investment management needs of clients from £1,000 to over £10 million of assets.

Fresh from a restructure that has spanned the past few years and a string of acquisitions, Close Brothers Asset Management is one such business and incoming head of private client services Penny Lovell is a woman on a mission.

She wants to ensure the company is making its accessibility and the breadth of its proposition known to the public, while fully understanding and reacting to the needs of potential clients.

‘We are saying we are able to offer financial planning to the broader market and I think that is an important message to get out. We are here to provide pension planning, life assurance and the full financial planning spectrum,’ she says.

‘We have a great range of Close Brothers funds for up to £1 million to invest, we have our bespoke private client investment management that steps in at £1 million to £10 million and then a family office investment service for those with £10 million plus. We are beginning to give a lot of clarity that we are able to help all sorts of areas.’

With this in mind, Lovell has already introduced a number of initiatives, having joined the company in November 2012. These include ‘future leaders’ courses for people aged 18 to 24, including a ‘Dragons’ Den’ experience.

‘It is about bringing an eclectic mix of people together who could all be clients in their own right, teaching them about entrepreneurship,’ she explains, adding that seminars on next generation issues and a series of teach-ins on financial subjects such as IHT and VCTs have also been received well.

Perhaps the biggest initiative under her stewardship is a survey the firm is currently carrying out with over 200 participants, including family offices, advisers, trustees, charity trustees and other professional introducers. The purpose, Lovell says, is not only to boost Close’s profile but to find out more about what clients want from a financial services organisation.

‘We are reaching out to the marketplace and saying, “What do wealth managers get right, what do you like about the services we provide, what would you actually like us to be providing, what do you think we do badly, and who do you think are the real role models out there?”’ Lovell says.


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