Five lessons from five years
Five years ago we launched a modern discretionary wealth management service designed to be intuitive, relevant and represent real value for money. During that time we’ve had many momentous events to navigate, in particular the impact of the global pandemic on financial markets.
Along the way we have learned many things, including: what matters most to clients, how to overcome the challenges of remote working and living and how excited investors are to be part of backing a fresher approach to wealth management to align with the times.
Meanwhile, our clients have continued to trust us to manage their money in order to achieve their individual goals whether, for example, it’s planning for retirement, investing to pay for their children’s education or just making their money work harder for them.
And this is how it should be. Regardless of what is being thrown at us politically or economically, our clients can be confident that their assets are being well managed, that they can access any information they want 24/7, that there will always be advisers on hand if advice is needed and be certain that their fees are low, fair and transparent.
It is with great pride that we see clients contributing more to their portfolios than ever and that so many are using the Netwealth Network. We originally set up the Network to help families create economies of scale, while allowing each member to retain their independence and have the freedom to invest as they please to meet their own particular objectives.
While we know that conceptually the prospect of even greater fee savings makes sense, we could not have forecast that three quarters of our clients would be in a Network and we’re delighted that this is the case. Many families, as we know, have multi-generational needs and a high percentage of our clients are taking a proactive approach to addressing them.
At one end of the age spectrum, the Network helps pension pots last for longer. At the other end, it encourages young adults into their investing journey at an earlier age than otherwise, helped by modern technology and low costs. All of this is key to driving improved financial futures across the family unit.
We look forward to continuing to deliver ‘wealth management as it should be’.
What has been great over the past five years is how engaged clients have been with the service – recommending friends and family, asking questions to understand more about their portfolios and performance, interacting with the online service and taking advantage of the new features that we have rolled out during that time.
Clients appreciate being able to interact with the online service 24/7 at their convenience, but also having a friendly and knowledgeable team on hand during the week to call and help them with their queries. I feel very confident that we have built a platform and service that meets a wide range of client needs and that we will continue to evolve it with client feedback to be ever better.
We have seen a wide range of market environments in the lead up to, and since the launch of our seven sterling portfolios in May 2016. There’s been no shortage of events which have caused market participants to rethink their expectations for what the future may hold. Throughout this time, the primary lesson for us has been the importance of offering diversification to clients through effective portfolio construction, whatever the chosen level of risk.
What diversification means is bound to change through time, as the relationships between different asset class returns remain fluid, and it is so hard to anticipate how and why different assets will perform in response to different events.
We were recognised earlier this year as finalists for investment performance for cautious portfolios in the prestigious PAM awards for wealth managers. Uncertainty has not gone away, but by sticking to our core approach of investing strategically and efficiently in assets with strong liquidity profiles, we hope to continue to deliver strong returns for clients. Staying diversified will undoubtedly help that effort.
The last five years has shown the value of carefully selecting an appropriate risk level for each of your portfolios and then having the confidence to stick with this through periods of volatility. We have seen markets and portfolios react to a wide range of economic and political events.
Despite these moves sometimes being sizable, they have not been beyond the bounds of expected behaviour and at the same time more defensive assets and portfolios have provided protection at the right times. So for clients who have correctly matched up their time frames, risk appetite and cashflow needs they have been able to sleep well, safe in the knowledge that while they may experience some ups and downs along the way they are on track to achieve their goals.
Our advisers are always on hand to help you consider your goals and structure your investments both when markets gyrate or when circumstances and plans change.
Over the past five years we have witnessed a staggering evolution in cloud computing. Netwealth has always been “cloud first”, but the pace of change in this area is unparalleled. The only way we take advantage of these improvements is by continual learning and investigation. Building a culture where all employees are encouraged to learn, ask questions, and seek new ways of working has been instrumental in our success so far.
The future promises ever more speed, scalability and robustness that we are very well placed to take advantage of for our clients.
Please note, the value of your investments can go down as well as up.