DeVere opened its first US office in Miami’s Brickell financial district last June.
The privately-held, Zurich-based company, which claims to be the largest financial advisory firm worldwide, based on its 59-office footprint, next month is also launching two permanent recruitment and training centres, one in New York and one in Dubai. Previously, most of the recruitment had been done out of the UK.
Simon Pratt, who has been with deVere since it was founded in 2002 and has opened a number of its most important outposts over the years, will head up the New York office. The Houston office is being headed up by Nick Tipper, who previously looked after deVere’s Mexico City office, which was closed last year – the company’s first-ever pullout from a market.
Although deVere is known for looking after expatriates, in the US it is expecting to cater for Americans as well as other nationalities, according to chief executive Nigel Green. Many Americans, including more than 500 in the Houston area, are already existing clients, having come to deVere while posted abroad on business – for example, with oil companies that are based in Texas.
“In recent years, many [non-US] financial advisory firms have pulled out of this market [the US] as they didn’t have the expertise to successfully manage the very specialised advice that clients in America require,” Green said.
“There is also a complex legislative and regulatory process that has forced many to retreat.
“Similarly, those firms knew that if they failed in their duties, there would most probably be costly and damaging legal action.”
Such problems will not deter deVere, he added, because it is “extremely adept in all areas of financial planning for US citizens”.
At the moment deVere has just one licence as a registered investment adviser (RIA) in Florida, but it has applied for state licences in New York and Texas, according to Green, who said that a company cannot complete its application form without an office already set up in those states, as “you cannot complete the necessary documentation”. He estimated the approvals will come through “in approximately two weeks”.
A similar situation exists with respect to deVere’s licensing in New York State and Texas. In both states, deVere has applied for a securities license via the state regulatory bodies.
The licensing of the deVere staff who are to work in the company’s US offices is also in the works, with those who to provide the actual advice to clients preparing for the so-called Series 65 exam administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, the largest independent regulator of securities firms in the US.
Built in 1930, the iconic Chrysler building is known for its distinctive Art Deco style. It is also located close to Grand Central Station, making it potentially convenient to deVere clients who might arrive by train from such nearby population centres as Connecticut, Upstate New York and Long Island.