Two minutes with Susie Hillier
In wealth planning we are strategists and technicians in one. You can only help someone think about their retirement planning, investments or tax structuring options if you understand the big picture and the purpose of their wealth. I believe that those firms who focus solely for example on investable assets or retirement planning miss so many opportunities to add value for clients. We are unusual in adopting this broader, holistic perspective.
The most important tool we use is our ears. Very often the first thing we say to a potential client is, “tell me about yourself”. We want to know what our clients think and feel about key issues rather than just understand their financial inflows and outflows. We want to know what drives them and what keeps them awake at night. We listen to what they say and use their responses to help build a strategy for their wealth. These conversations can be very interesting and often have very little to do with money.
We generally start with a financial ‘health check’. We do this for clients, no matter what their level of wealth. This enables us to plot someone’s financial position today against their objectives and highlight areas they should consider. We look at ‘what if’ scenarios and demonstrate the relative impact different life events may have, such as a marriage, the arrival of children, retirement or philanthropy. This is a good start for any strategic conversation. Our clients find our approach refreshing and it helps to set us apart from our peers.
We work with a huge range of clients. At one end of the spectrum, we look after ‘accumulators’ who are in the first stages of building their wealth. They could be the next generation who will inherit and require education, or entrepreneurs starting out with limited disposable income. At the other, we look after ultra-high net worth individuals, including private equity professionals or owner managers exiting businesses for multiple millions.
Being part of a wider international family office has many advantages for our clients. Our broad in-house expertise allows us to advise complex clients in a streamlined and efficient way. Our clients have access to numerous specialists, who they can engage with without building relationships from scratch. They have confidence in us to refer them to the best person for the job, whether inside or outside of the firm.
We are a people business. Technology is revolutionising client expectations around delivery but part of what differentiates us in the marketplace is that we build incredible relationships. We truly understand our clients and have the ability to share knowledge built from years of addressing similar issues faced by other families. We would be hard pushed to replace that with technology.
Stonehage Fleming Wealth Planning provide integrated planning and investment advice focused on the needs of UK resident and domiciled, deemed-domiciled clients. Stonehage Fleming denotes that a company is a member of the Stonehage Fleming Family and Partners Group. The information in this article does not constitute an offer or a solicitation and is provided for information purposes only to describe the services offered by Stonehage Fleming and not as the basis for any contract for the purchase or sale of any investment product or service. Investments can fall as well as rise and investments and products mentioned in this presentation may not be suitable for everyone. This article does not take into account the individual circumstances, needs or objectives of the recipient. We do not intend for this information to constitute advice and it should not be relied on as such to enter into a transaction or for any investment decision. Stonehage Fleming Wealth Planning accepts no liability for any action you may take or omit to take as a result of this article. It is not the intention to make our services available in any territories where to do so would be unlawful. Stonehage Fleming Wealth Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. © Copyright Stonehage Fleming 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, on any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission.