Introducing a new model for customer dialogue should improve adviser-client discussions on risk and portfolio construction, says SGPB Hambros.
He stresses the D&AA simply crunches the numbers; after that there is significant qualitative input as the advisers select new assets. The deeper engagement comes at a critical time for managers; many wealthy investors have been sitting in cash or equivalent for some time and are keen to get their capital back to work.
The recent announcements by the European Central Bank, the US Federal Reserve and other authorities have brought a glimmer of hope for investors. Verleyen says: "The aim of all these measures was to get confidence back to the markets, which has started to happen."
Globally, he expects slow economic growth. The surprise announcement of a third round of quantitative easing in the US was "very good news", and although the most recent US jobs data was disappointing, there are signs of revival both in employment trends and the domestic housing sector.
In Europe, ECB president Mario Draghi had deployed the "mass stabilisation weapon" but all economies in the region had been weakened by the drag of deficit reduction measures. Corporates across Europe have sound balance sheets, but still await more positive indicators before committing to new investment.
"By region, we like the US, Russia and China," Verleyen says. "And in Europe there are some quality stocks with global exposure. We don't think there will be a hard landing in China."
Verleyen says the short-term outlook is more positive for equities, with valuations particularly attractive relative to bonds. There are high-quality, dividend-paying stocks to be found in most sectors.
Government bonds, with yields at or near record lows, are unattractive, but investment grade corporate bonds, especially among Financials (Axa and Barclays), are a far better target. He is an investor in the Invesco Corporate Bond Fund and Franklin Templeton Global Total Return Bond Fund.
Gold "remains well supported by unconventional reflationary policy", and there are investors buying it as a long-term hedge against inflation. He favours the Lyxor ETN Gold tracker and a Sprint Note (long $/short €), which captures 168% of the upside and 100% of the downside.
"Inflation is not a short-term concern," explains Verleyen. "But when the velocity of money starts to pick up again, it will return." He also likes less correlated alternative strategies, including macro-orientated hedge funds Lyxor Winton and Lyxor Bridgewater.