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Wealth Manager: The UK's first turnkey asset manager is unlocking adviser assets
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by David Campbell on Feb 07, 2013 at 00:01
The shared ethos is a key part of the appeal says Burgess, versus effectively handing over long-standing clients to a London-based wealth management sales person in an expensive suit.
‘A lot of these people are working from garden sheds,’ says Burgess. ‘The association with our brand can provide much needed credibility. [But] my background as an adviser is a big help when I meet people. I come from the same cultural background, and have been through the same professional journey that many of them are doing now.
‘This gap in the market should be being filled by the networks, but they don’t have the credibility. They have just become a vehicle for asset aggregators. It is an advantage [to me], because advisers will automatically ask themselves “who do I trust in this space?”.’
The general philosophy of spirited apprenticeship does have its limitations. ‘Oh, all that discretionary stuff,’ Burgess says at one point in response to a question about the methodology the company uses to determine its asset allocation models, with a distinct air of inverse snobbery.
While many advisers are quite rightly cynical about the interest discretionary managers have suddenly begun showing in their clients in recent years, it might seem a little dismissive in someone marketing a discretionary-equivalent service.
But watching him in action in front of an audience of his peers, it is clear the business is as much sustained by Burgess’s enthusiasm for discovery and problem solving as it is by the unusual opportunity.
EBI is not his first independent business venture, having launched Independent Transfer Services, a pension transfer business, in 1999. Legislative changes eventually made the pension transfer business less attractive however, and it was closed in 2004.
He was also involved with a franchise operation called The Divorce Bureau, set up to generate leads with divorcees through radio advertising and connections with solicitors. It was wound down in 2007 because the radio advertising wasn’t attracting the right kind of client.
Much of the challenge in designing and launching the business has been the software architecture he says, with the asset allocation drawing on a large pool of published literature on model portfolio theory.
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