The deVere Group, well known for its claim to be the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisation, is to begin a “comprehensive period of restructuring”, according to a statement being released this morning by its founder, Nigel Green.
In the statement, Green, pictured, who founded the firm in 2002, mentions the shock revelation by UK Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Budget speech last week, that a new 25% tax is to be levied on most overseas pension transfers, as being among the developments that will be taken into account by deVere’s executive team, as it maps out the company’s future.
“As we move into our fifteenth year, still dominating the international advisory sector, we have recently embarked on a strategic review of not only our corporate structures but also our operating units,” Green says in his statement.
“The recent QROPS announcements from the UK will form part of this analysis.”
With respect to the QROPS matter, Green says it was “extremely disappointing” to discover that the UK government “sees Britons’ pensions as low-hanging fruit they can raid whenever they deem it appropriate”, and adds: “It seems to forget that it is an individual’s right to transfer their asset to any jurisdiction they see fit and, as such, people should not be penalised should they choose to move it outside the UK for legitimate financial planning reasons.”
He notes that although the Chancellor’s new tax would make pension transfers for those outside the European Economic Area more expensive, for those expats who remain within the EEA the situation won’t change and “therefore, QROPS will still benefit many people living, or planning to live, overseas and who have a UK pension”.
‘Large scale global organisation’
The 2017 Strategic Review is not just about QROPS, Green goes on to say in his 556-word statement, but rather, reflects the fact that, after more than 14 years in business, “deVere has become such a large scale global organisation, with offices in a wide variety of different jurisdictions, which are all evolving differently and at different speeds”.
“The industry is also evolving quicker than ever in terms of regulatory landscapes and clients’ expectations and requirements,” he adds in his statement.
“The process which we’ve now begun will allow us to take a bird’s eye view perspective of where we need to go as a business in order to maintain and expand on our market-leading position.
“It will enable us as a business to see in which areas and markets we need to reduce our presence, where we should invest and develop more quickly and in more depth, and with which products and services.
“The Strategic Review will, no doubt, result in a comprehensive period of restructuring.
“We’re confident that this will provide the blueprint for us to navigate a new, exciting and fast-evolving era within the international advisory space.
“Furthermore, it can be expected that we will be able to provide an enhanced level of protection and service, a broader range of advice, and a more extensive choice of products.
“Indeed, our recently received investment banking licence will allow us to offer new, specialist and innovative financial products and services to help our clients achieve their long-term financial goals.”
As reported, in January deVere announced it was entering the private banking market, following its acquisition of the St Lucia-based private banking arm of Arton Bank, which it said is to be called deVere Group Bank St Lucia, and last week revealed plans to launch a new Mauritius-based investment banking operation, after having received an investment banking licence from the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius.
In his prepared statement today, Green said that deVere’s move into the private banking sector had been “largely driven by demand from clients, who are increasingly seeking asset and capital protection and growth, combined with confidentiality”.
Green didn’t say how long the strategic review was expected to take, other than to say that it would be “completed in a timely manner, in order to navigate the fast-changing sector in the best way possible for our clients and the business”. And he said it would result in a stronger company.
“It will empower our organisation to stay ahead of the curve, become more streamlined and agile, and further strengthen our market dominance.”
DeVere currently says it has more than 80,000 clients, who live in more than 100 different countries, and that it looks after more than US$10bn in assets under advice and administration. According to its website it has 48 offices located in 32 countries.