Guardian Wealth Management, the Dubai-based advisory group founded by David Howell and John Hasberry more than 20 years ago in the UK, said today that it is launching a new operation, called GWM Global Partners, which will aim to address what it says is a disconnect that currently exists between expatriates and the financial advisory industry in the international marketplace.
The new operation, which involves “upgrades” to the business model, will be headed up by Mike Coady, GWM’s chief commercial officer, the company said in a statement.
Coady said the GWM Global Partners programme will include an “extensive” upgrade of GWM’s client relationship management systems; a full “client journey” rebrand; the introduction of client interactive investor portals; and a secure mobile app, model portfolio management software, as well as “specifically-designed and highly personalised touchpoints, such as online webinars”.
Existing GWM clients will be brought into the new programme during a roll-out that begins today and will take around 12 weeks, Coady added.
Expats ‘unhappy’ with current advice
Guardian Wealth said it decided to overhaul its wealth management programme because of feedback from expats, who were unhappy with the standard of advice on offer across the market. It cites research it said it had carried out that showed that as many as 71% of expats interviewed said the ongoing service they receive from their financial advisory firms had declined or ceased to exist altogether, reflecting what Guardian calls the “all upfront” remuneration business model that, although less widespread than it used to be, is still commonplace in many offshore advisory markets.
“As the expectations of modern expats naturally continue to rise, the feedback we have received clearly shows many international IFA firms are failing to invest, adapt and improve,” Coady said.
“With a clear and transparent charging structure, relevant to the level of advice needed, clients should be able to select the service level they require, rather than, in some instances, paying over the odds for a service they simply do not need.”
Gemma Frankland, who has been promoted to head of GWM Global Partners from the company’s Middle East flagship office in Dubai, will oversee a team of 15 advisers and associates who will form the core of the GWM Global Partners operation, GWM said.
In addition to its Dubai head office, Guardian Wealth has offices in Abu Dhabi, Geneva, Hong Kong and, in the UK, London and Doncaster. As reported here in April, the company has been expanding its FCA-authorised London operation, which is located in the city’s affluent Mayfair district and which looks to cater for UK-based, high-net-worth clients.