The head of financial planning for Quilter Cheviot Europe (QCE) said that “everything is on the table” after the firm recently unveiled an advice arm in Dublin.
In January 2022, QCE said it is “establishing an integrated investment management and financial planning offering to complement the work it does with intermediaries to deliver a wealth management service”.
This means setting up a financial planning operation out of its Dublin office to serve European clients.
Andrew Fahy, head of financial planning at Quilter Cheviot Europe, told International Adviser that the firm is not “going to put numbers” on its growth ambitions but admitted “everything is on the table”.
“We have an open mind in Quilter Cheviot,” he added. “We are certainly looking to grow the team and we’ve made additional hires and will be informing people on that in due course.
“But everything’s on the table in terms of growing the business. Quilter Cheviot is a business with a lot of ambition and a lot of good people, so we’re primed for growth.
“We do have really significant growth ambitions for the QCE business. We’re ambitious and we have targets in our mind in terms of growth and where we would look where we would like to be.”
Setting up the financial planning operation
Quilter Cheviot is known for its investment management services – so why is it now looking at financial planning?
Fahy said: “The goal of Quilter Cheviot Europe has been aiming for world class investment outcomes for clients.
“There was there was a gap in terms of more holistic wealth planning and overall wealth management in terms of financial planning, and acknowledgement that with high net worth individuals, the greater complexity that exists nowadays that there was a requirement to bring together financial planning and investment management into an holistic wealth management service.”
Fahy said that wealth management and private client offerings “tend to be sales channel for product or funds that have been manufactured” by banks.
“Whereas, the approach QE and other similar firms take where you have an independent investment process, you’re looking at the entire investable universe to populate client portfolios,” he added. “If you’re pairing that up with holistic financial planning and high quality financial planning, that is quite unique in the European market.
“Then, separate to that, because of Brexit, there’s a requirement for EU-based clients to be to be serviced from the EU.
“For people who are familiar and used to dealing with firms in the UK or Ireland with English speaking firms, common law jurisdictions, familiar way of doing things, it’s advantageous and helpful for clients who are based right across the EU to deal with QCE because it’s a name they know and trust.
“From a regulatory perspective, it’s the last common law jurisdiction in the EU now post-Brexit.”
Being able to offer investment management and financial planning services can make QCE an attractive proposition for clients.
This may let them stand out from the crowd across Europe.
Fahy said: “I don’t think there’s that many companies actually offering those services. There are lots of clients ended up in across the EU for a variety of reasons and they always retained that tie back to their home country, which in many cases is the UK.
“As a result of what’s happened with Brexit, those people can no longer be serviced by institutions or by wealth managers in the UK. It is unusual to have a provider like QCE even down to simple things like English speaking, common law, and then there’s commonality of approach right across the firm in the UK, Ireland, Jersey, and Dubai.
“All of those things enable clients and potential clients to be serviced in a manner that they’re familiar with and to get an appropriate service both on the investment planning and the financial planning side.
Another reason why the financial planning offering may bolster QCE is the ability to help expats repatriate – which has become a common trend since covid.
“By the very nature of people moving jurisdictions and moving to different countries within the EU, that really lends itself to financial planning,” Fahy added.
“My view of the financial planning piece is really about helping people make the right decisions to achieve life goals. But where financial planning becomes really important is at the various touch points that we all have in our lives where a decision is made like moving jobs, taking retirement benefits, moving to a different country or returning home.
“My background is in professional practice, I’m a tax adviser by profession. It has always struck me when you work in practice, a lot of the time things can be quite reactive in that when that when the client comes to you can give them advice.
“But the beauty about wealth management is that because you’re in such regular contact with the client, you have an innate understanding of what’s going on in their life. If there’s a requirement for specialised advice, additional legal or tax advice, you can help the client.”
Servicing clients across the EU
QCE’s Dublin financial planning arm will help serve clients across the whole of Europe.
But it must be difficult to serve clients in many different countries.
Fahy said: “With different jurisdictions, you’ve got different tax rules, different rules what people can invest in, different rules around retirement planning, and rules around pensions.
“That’s where QCE partners with external advisers, either with clients and existing advisers, or help clients within Europe to obtain local tax advice relevant to their own situations.
“There are also common themes for clients across Europe around investment outcomes, funding goals, lifestyle planning, cash flow modelling and succession planning.
“For any wealth management business, succession planning and inheritance tax planning is a huge part of that as people look to transition wealth to the next generation.
“There are different areas where QCE financial planning can help clients, both in terms hard law legislation where there may be requirement to bring in local expertise or that may already exist within the client’s ecosystem and then the softer aspects also.”