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View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/article/a745285

WH Ireland could close offices as it launches cost cutting review

by Elsa Buchanan on Apr 08, 2014 at 07:56

WH Ireland could close offices as it launches cost cutting review

WH Ireland is undertaking measures to reduce costs and has started a review of its wealth management arm, including the viability of some of its smaller offices.

Last month, Dan Cowland was hired from Shore Capital as finance director with the remit to ‘squeeze a lot of costs out of the company’, WH Ireland chief Richard Killingbeck (pictured) explained. This includes a review of the firm’s lower net worth accounts

‘We have a high cost-to-income ratio and are focusing on reducing our cost base. We are reviewing our smaller accounts,’ Killingbeck said.

‘We don’t want to close our smaller accounts, but where they are less than £500,000, they should be in a pooled fund. We have not set a minimum but we will look at that – maybe £100,000.’

The review will also extend to WH Ireland’s smaller offices to assess their viability.

‘We are looking at everything. We have some very small offices – one-man offices, which in the current regulatory environment poses some challenges, so we are looking at those,’ the chief executive said.

The news comes after WH Ireland recently launched an office in the Isle of Man, as part of its strategy to grow its discretionary wealth management business.

Elsewhere, its final results revealed a 43% increase in assets under management to £2.5 billion in 2013.

The company is also making efforts to take advantage of the minimum asset requirements larger banks are imposing on smaller clients.

‘The large banks in the private client space are moving up their minimums and that is presenting us with opportunities,’ Killingbeck said.

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3 comments so far. Why not have your say?

CoeurDeLion87

Apr 08, 2014 at 08:17

More evidence that private client stockbroking is being killed off and replaced by a new 'wealth' regime that pools and corals investors for a fee. This is NOT what stockbroking was created for. It has little to do with creative and innovative market investing and everything to do with risk averse/suitability re-definitions that are ultimately strangling SME's etc. If RDR isn't an unmitigated failure then I think it's time to define what the benefits are. Excessive regulatory costs and standard overheads are getting out of control.

Can it be any coincidence that many incoming executives in firms like WH Ireland are arriving from banks and with it an obtuse attitude to smaller clients? ALL the old firms pre-Big Bang understood that in order to nurture oak trees there have to be acorns but the current crop of regulators & 'wealth' pro-RDR brigade prefer to squeeze the last remnants from the failed experiment by crushing these next generation clients.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Apr 08, 2014 at 09:28

And at the end of the day, clients will pay a 1.75% fee to a Fund Manager & further 1% to a "Wealth Adviser", so the cost of advice will be virtually twice the cost of the commission based system of Stockbrokers which it replaced. Is RDR a success ? - make your own judgement on that one ! All it means is that the FCA will have bigger Wealth Management Firms, on which they know they can levy progressively larger fines.

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David Cowell

Apr 08, 2014 at 09:34

Totally agree. Short-termism rules OK. But, isn't that a problem for the whole market?

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