The deVere Group, which calls itself the world’s largest independent international financial consultancy, is planning to expand its business in the UK to new clients, and has appointed Kevin White to head up its UK operation as managing partner.White, who had been Head of deVere’s Private Client Division and Client Services operation in Barcelona for the past year, succeeds Richard Bayle, who previously had been in charge of both deVere’s UK and French operations.
Bayle will now concentrate developing the French deVere business from his long-standing base in Toulouse.
Zurich-based deVere have always focussed on looked after existing clients when they have returned to the UK, or relocated to Britain from other countries, but until now has never sought to attract new clients on British soil, White said.
However, he added, the number of British returnees has grown to the point where there is now a critical mass to run — and further develop — an independent operation.
White said he is going to be actively marketing deVere’s unique range of advisory services to clients living in the UK, whatever nationality.
“I myself come from a background as a UK IFA, and the way I see it, the opportunity for us to be a fully independent, whole-of-market advisory firm here now is such an opportunity,” added White, who moved to deVere’s Zurich offices in 2008.
“And given [the size of our business here now], it would be short-sighted to continue to deal only with existing deVere clients.”
White acknowledged that this would seem an unusual time for an advisory firm well established in other markets to be actively seeking to enter the UK market, as some experts are predicting a dramatic shrinkage in Britain’s advisory industry as the raft of new regulations known as the Retail Distribution Review takes effect in 2013.
However, he is adamant that deVere has nothing to fear from the RDR, and that it is well placed to take advantage of the post-RDR market.
“I think RDR is something to embrace, as opposed to shy away from," he said.
"It’s a lot better for the client, so it is definitely a positive thing, even though it seems as though a lot of people view it as less optimistic.”
DeVere’s UK offices are based in Holborn, London, from where what is described as a "growing team" currently looks after around 1,500 clients in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.