Eighteen months ago, Brewin Dolphin began offering no-obligation reviews of personal finances and investments to help people have greater confidence in those 'times of uncertainty'. A lot can happen in 18 months. Since then, we've had the Brexit referendum, the Trump Presidency and now a snap General Election.
So, the uncertainty has gone up a notch or two but Brewin Dolphin’s long history has helped them develop a long-term outlook that has served clients well through over two centuries of financial crises. The company, and Head of Office, William Baker Baker has a composure that remains ever relevant and contributes to a sense of continuity that clients profit from and enjoy.
William, 62, is a fixture in the North East finance industry, and has been with Brewin Dolphin for over three decades. Even with that length of experience, he concedes that these are extraordinary times, “There are nervous people out there, of course. The markets are pushed and pulled in all directions all the time, but with a change in Government in the USA and France, the potential longer term ramifications for Europe, and global political instability. It can be a lot to process, and quite worrying.
“This is why the way we do it – our personal approach to investment – has stood the test of time. Managing the wealth of so many clients requires the kind of expertise you only get through experience and in-depth knowledge. We are here to help with finances in the long term and so we speak to our clients all the time, and whenever there’s a major shift or a pressing issue, we tell them our understanding of it, and how it might affect them. It’s honest, it’s useful, and our clients really appreciate it.”
However, it is not only the world that is changing, it is Brewin Dolphin too. They have cast off an (unfair) perception that they were a firm for only the ‘super rich’ and involved themselves more in the local business community. They support cultural events across the region, and have an award winning research division looking at the issues facing those looking to take care of their money, no matter what age.
William added, “There was a view that Brewin Dolphin clients needed to be very wealthy. That simply isn’t true at all, and I think we’re now communicating that well.
“We have a burgeoning financial planning team that look at pensions, inheritance tax and other issues, we offer ISAs, and deal with modest investments through our Portfolio Service. Then there is the core of our business, the managed investments for those who can invest around £150,000 or so.
“We’re not a complete financial one-stop-shop, we value our expertise and know where our strengths lie, but we do have a service for almost anyone.”
The financial planners and investment managers at Brewin Dolphin are very visible in the region, the firm runs seminars and supports other high-profile events in the region whilst strengthening links with professional services such as accountancy and law firms.
Brewin Dolphin is also a member of two of the region’s most successful membership organisations, the Entrepreneur’s Forum and the North East England Chamber of Commerce, where it seeks to engage with executives and business owners, advising them on the issues they face currently, and discussing how best to invest for a secure future.
In April, Brewin Dolphin concluded a huge research project with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) identifying the problems faced by people at particular stages of their lives, and William sees this as being crucial to cementing the way Brewin Dolphin works now, and in the future, “We deal with money, but we work with people. That’s paramount engaging, talking, explaining and advising is how we’ve built a reputation over the years as being a trusted firm. This research has provided us a great insight into how to help build the kind of relationships that matter. It allows us to pinpoint and help with issues before they become problems.”
The three-part report is comprehensive: The first, “Mind the Generation Gap” deals with how the current generation of over-55s can use their wealth in an efficient way to improve the future life chances of their loved ones; The second, “The Big Squeeze” focuses on the need for those in their 40’s to be aware of the potential financial cost of caring for their parents in addition to funding university fees for their children; The final part, “A Helping Hand” focuses on the Millennial generation, getting onto the housing ladder while still building a pension and savings.
William sums up, “The world changes, and our individual circumstances change. It’s unavoidable. Where we help is that we get a full understanding of someone’s financial position, what their options are, and give them a plan to help them get to where they want to be.
“We give clients confidence, we give them peace of mind, and the freedom to devote more time to what they enjoy doing or hope to achieve. They want to make the most of their money. We help them do that.”