The broker scores
ABSA PRIVATE BANK/ABSA WEALTH MANAGEMENT Overall
Absa’s wealth management and private banking offering covers the full spectrum of products and services, including an impressive family office. Despite the sale by Barclays Plc of its Africa operations, the group’s access to Barclays’s global capabilities and all partnership agreements remain. The Wealth, Investment Management and Insurance unit is the integrated nonbanking financial services provider to Barclays Africa and other partners across the continent, including life insurance, nonlife insurance, investment management, and fiduciary. It uses a combination of in-house products and “open architecture solutions”.
What we say
Absa’s performance has to be taken in the context of the marriage to and divorce from Barclays Plc, a difficult process that has distracted it for years. In that light, its underperformance in these awards given its size and muscle is understandable, but it should be concerned by the rankings given to it by its clients in the People’s Choice survey.
Absa Private Banking: R750,000 annual salary, with exceptions. Absa Wealth & Investment: R10m/year net income; family office: R200m net asset value.
BRENTHURST WEALTH MANAGEMENT Overall
Brenthurst Wealth is a medium-sized independent financial advisory company focusing on high net worth clients. It uses predominantly external products, but recently has started in-house funds. The firm has been on a marketing drive and says this is paying off, resulting in expansion, particularly in the Western Cape.
What we say
The company is enjoying a noticeable period of success, reflected in its expansion and development of new products to meet client demand. MD Brian Butchart says a strong marketing drive has been instrumental to the firm’s growth. Client communication is at the core of that, with regular newsletters and seminars focusing on topical issues. The firm has never had minimum eligibility criteria but weighs the cost of taking on a new client so that it makes business sense, and the new funds were primarily launched to cater for the smaller client market. The firm has improved markedly since its debut participation in 2015 to win the award for Top Wealth Management Boutique this year.
FNB PRIVATE WEALTH/RMB PRIVATE BANK Overall
An efficient, competent all-round offering from FNB/RMB, spanning banking and wealth management services with strong capabilities at the top end of the wealth spectrum catering for internationally wealthy families. It goes beyond traditional service areas to focus on entrepreneurs (in conjunction with FNB Business), nonmetro and agricultural communities. The group has been intensifying its client-centric approach with increased focus on banking and advising across the family structure, managing intergenerational wealth transfer. It has also launched offerings for the wealth market, one notable development being its Private Wealth Academy in collaboration with the Gordon Institute of Business Science and The Academy of Financial Markets to help build financial literacy among its client base.
What we say
The FNB/RMB group won the 2015 Top Private Bank award. Its submission to the judges didn’t carry as much detail as top-ranked firms. Client rankings for the group have also fallen from previous high levels. In part, the drift has occurred as the centre of gravity in the group has moved from RMB to FNB.
FNB Private Wealth: Salary of R1.5m or NAV of R15m. RMB Private Bank: Not disclosed.
GRADIDGE-MAHURA INVESTMENTS Overall
This eight-year old boutique has established itself as a force in our surveys and takes second in the Top Wealth Management Boutique category. The group does not offer discretionary investment services, with operations manager Cyril Chetty saying the priority in the first few years was to build up assets and ensure a sustainable business. It is privately owned by individuals, with 95% black ownership and 100% black management. Chetty says the initial approach was to focus on the black middle- to high-income market in SA, but the company has since positioned itself as a wealth management business to all South Africans in its target markets. Its focus is on the first three of Intellidex’s archetypes.
What we say
A particularly strong showing in the up-and-coming professional archetype along with being the second-ranked boutique reflects the strength of this firm within its target market. This is the second year it has participated in this survey and it continues to impress. However, this year its clients gave it lower ratings than last year.
Retirement clients: R500,000 preservation and R1,5m retirement capital. Young professionals: four-year/honours degrees. Investible assets of R500,000 and/or household assets of R20m. Senior managers: earnings of R700,000/year.
Maitland focuses on the top end of the wealth market with strong international and full family-office capabilities. It is privately owned by staff and management, and runs in-house funds designed to pool the capital of smaller clients. These are not sold to clients but used “where the efficiencies of pooled portfolio management are very certain”. It’s a means to accommodate clients who don’t fall squarely into its target market, though it doesn’t cater for our first archetype, the lump-sum investor. It is on a global expansion drive.
What we say
Maitland falls into a slightly unfortunate position in our survey because it is too big to qualify for the Top Wealth Management Boutique award, so has to compete with the big banks and Sanlam for the main award. Furthermore, not enough of its clients completed the People’s Choice survey for it to be ranked for that award. However, the judges were impressed by the quality and scope of its offerings and the depth of its expertise in its responses to our archetype clients. It stands out for its sophisticated thinking on multijurisdictional tax and legal thinking.
Discretionary portfolio management: R25m.
Family office services: R250m.
NEDBANK PRIVATE WEALTH
Nedbank’s wealth offerings operate through Nedbank Private Wealth SA and Nedbank Private Wealth International. It has offices in SA, the UK, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey and the United Arab Emirates, with SA clients having full access to its international services. It offers the full spectrum of services and products across the wealth spectrum. NPW provides discretionary investment management services directly, in conjunction with third-party products/investments in client portfolios. That is to provide diversification by investment manager, style, mandate, asset class and geography. It offers clients a consolidated view of their financial position, regardless of where their money is managed.
What we say
Nedbank is getting more competitive every year in our survey. This year it wins two archetypes, up-and-coming professional and wealthy executive, and is second in the lump-sum investor category. In its response to our archetypes we were particularly impressed with the detail — it spelt out all implications of all options. It’s also very popular with its clients, finishing second in the People’s Choice award.
R1.5m/year or R5m investable assets.