The consultancies recognised in thewealthnet’s 2021 Top Investment Consultants initiative provide an indispensable service to wealthier private clients.
The list is compiled using a combination of in-house research, data submitted directly by firms, and referrals and feedback from our network of private client practitioners. We look at the firms’ client to consultant ratio, the depth of the research function, and the range of investments advised on.
This initiative demonstrates the range of expertise that private clients have access to in the UK. The recognised firms range from small independent businesses to the private client arm of larger global organisations.
Congratulations to those recognised in this listing.
This initiative is kindly supported by Nedbank Private Wealth.
Alvarium Investment Advisors
Alvarium Investment Advisors was established in 2010 and now advises on more than $3 billion of client assets in the UK.
Its consultants are supported by an in-house research team and each client is served by a team of two consultants, and at least one analyst. The firm provides advice on all liquid assets and funds, including hedge funds and other alternative assets such as real estate and farmland.
Alvarium focuses on unbiased investment advice, and while the firm also owns a small investment management practice in the UK, this is a standalone business and the investment advisory arm does not invest client assets with it.
Stuart Davies, partner, investment advisory
Alvarium Investment Advisors has investment professionals in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific collaborating to create tailored asset allocations, targeting client-specific, risk-adjusted returns.
Alvarium was formerly called LJ Partnership, and rebranded in early 2019. In September 2021, Alvarium and Tiedemann merged with Cartesian Growth Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company, to form Alvarium Tiedemann Holdings.
ARC Investment Consulting
ARC Investment Consulting operates on a team basis, which usually involves four staff being involved with every client. Each team is responsible for between 15 and 20 clients.
The investment consulting business line employs 27 client-facing staff members.
Andrew O'Neill, ARC managing director
ARC’s main focus is on multi-asset class solutions for private clients and charities. However, it also actively advises on all mainstream, investible asset classes and it is agnostic to currency, geographic region and investment vehicle while being respectful of suitability parameters specific to the client in question.
ARC currently has $10 billion of assets under consulting, and maintains 365 discretionary investment managers in the ARC research database.
The information above pertains solely to ARC’s investment consulting business. The wider ARC Group has two other principle service lines: reporting services and ARC Research. The firm operates from offices in London, Guernsey and Jersey.
Steering away from large-scale advice and buy lists, bfinance customises its investment consultancy services to each client. The 1999-founded firm has purposely avoided conflict within its business model, remaining independent and not managing money.
The firm assists clients in assessing the levels and drivers of risk and return in their portfolio using proprietary models.
These include Portfolio Risk Solutions, which helps test the potential benefits of any proposed changes, and analysis of manager level or holdings level data to identify hidden exposures, correlations or overlaps.
David Vafai, founder and chief executive, bfinance
The firm then uses this information to work with clients to test the effectiveness of their existing allocation, as well as the potential diversification benefits of any new asset classes.
Bfinance also renewed its focus on sustainability in 2021, including through the appointment of Sarita Gosrani as director for ESG & responsible investment in August.
In July 2021, UK consulting business Broadstone acquired PwC’s private client and treasury investment team.
This was considered a strategic move for Broadstone as it expands its investment consulting business. As a growing number of consultants pivot towards asset management, there is a growing opportunity for the independent oversight that offered by Broadstone.
Ken McClintock, who led the team moving to Broadstone, said: “We are hugely excited to be joining Broadstone as it provides us with the ideal platform for future growth. We can continue to provide the same independent and expert advice to current and future clients, while expanding our range of advisory services.”
Conrad Montford is an independent investment consultant working with family offices, ultra high net worth clients and their advisers providing investment advisory, analytics and manager selection services.
With around £700 million assets under advisement, Conrad Montford provides qualitative investment consulting services in tandem with quantitative due diligence and monitoring. The latter is often in conjunction with wealth reporting arms of professional services firms, including Rawlinson & Hunter.
He has consulted to Hanson family office and AllenbridgeEpic for charities, trusts and more institutional mandates, having formerly been head of wealth advisory for Allenbridge Group.
Delfin Private Office
Delfin advises clients on public and private market investments covering equities, fixed income and alternatives. It has investment experience in house and has a specialist advisory group of subject matter experts on call for advice on specialist asset classes - like real estate. Delfin also advises on family governance and succession planning.
Delfin Private Office is led by Annamaria Koerling, who has over 28 years of experience in advising international families. She was head of wealth management at C Hoare & Co before joining Owl, Delfin’s predecessor firm, in 2017.
The firm has created a modular service offering which enables clients to select the components of the service relevant to them. For some this will mean a full "soup to nuts" service which helps them make sense of their wealth and to feel in control rather than burdened by it, for others this will be a more specialist service, for example the support of a subject matter expert in a specific area or asset class.
Advising on 12 clients in 2020, Delfin currently has $4 billion in assets under management.
Enhance Group’s investment consultancy advises on approximately $3 billion in client assets, across 15 client jurisdictions.
Its bilingual team of consultants is led by Dr Ruzhen Li who has more than 13 years of experience in researching investment managers to advise families and their professional advisors on complex investment affairs.
Dr Ruzhen Li
The consultancy is supported by a global research division and it provides both retained and project-based advice to public and private clients.
It describes itself as acting like a “cloud family office”, and deliberately keeps its client base small and select. Its investment specialists are trained to work in partnership with other professionals.
Family Office Advisors
Family Office Advisors is an independent consulting firm established in 2009 to serve the needs of family offices, wealthy individuals, trust companies and regulated investment & wealth managers.
The firm’s core services fall into two main parts: family office consulting services and investment, analytics and reporting
Family Office Advisers was founded by John Elder, who was previously managing director of multi manager investment solutions for EMEA, within the Global Family Offices group at Northern Trust, based in London.
Hassium Private Wealth
Hassium Private Wealth’s investment consultancy practice formally launched in 2020 with Simon Pinckney, Paul Sarosy and Charles Macfarlane as managing directors. Its five consultants advise on all areas of investment, including traditional multi-asset discretionary portfolios, equity and/or fixed income only portfolios, hedge funds, private equity and structured products.
The firm also provides strategic advice concerning structure and governance, asset allocation, operational efficiencies, cost of delivery, risk profile and investment manager selection – on qualitative and quantitative measures.
Assets under advice presently amount to approximately $365 million.
IAM Advisory has over 30 years of experience in developing investment structures designed to put the investor in control of all the risks involved in managing their portfolios.
IAM Advisory is known for advising on all material aspects of asset and wealth management.
Michael Strachan, founder
Its investment advisory practice covers private clients and family offices, through endowments and sovereign wealth funds. It generally deals with clients with assets in excess of $10 million.
Employing four directors and 11 consultants, the company has a 3:1 client to consultant ratio, advising 33 clients in total. It advises on assets worth about US$6 billion.
Consultants cover international equities, international bonds, funds in all asset categories, alternative investments being hedge funds and private equity – effectively all liquid investment types.
Isio was formed following the sale of KPMG UK’s investment advisory arm to a private equity firm in March 2020.
Headed by chief executive Andrew Coles, the practice provides strategic advice to a range of institutional clients including family offices. Services include objective setting, investment strategy, portfolio construction and asset allocation, investment manager research and selection, asset transitions, and ongoing monitoring.
Nick Evans, partner
The investment advisory team has a structure where consultants both provide client advice and undertake research.
This ensures that consultants provide advice that is fundamentally understood by those delivering it and is focused on the opportunities which best benefit the client.
The research teams cover a wide set of traditional and alternative assets. Isio has over 90 consultants with more than 180 clients, giving a client to consultant ratio of 2:1. The firm advises on more than £100 billion in assets (including institutional).
JTFM provides investment consulting to individuals, trustees, family offices and charities.
The firm advises on £5.4 billion in private client assets and employs five consultants and two analysts who advise on tax-efficient investing, multi-asset class portfolio management, formulating strategic asset allocation policies, direct stock, fund and product selection and structuring. It particularly focuses on discretionary manager selection.
Chris Tottle, director, JTFM
Portfolio sizes range from $5 million to more than $100 million and the firm advises around 45 clients.
Richard Jennings and Chris Tottle founded the firm in 2014, after working alongside each other at Schroders for nearly five years.
London-based Stamford Associates was founded in 1984 and is an international investment consulting firm providing a distinctive approach to manager identification, assessment and portfolio construction. Clients are mostly institutional but include some family groups.
The firm has built a proprietary database of thousands of investment managers over its 37 years in business and uses desk researchers and networking to discover managers that might otherwise sit under the radar. It aims to go beyond what is offered in the mainstream.
Following this talent discovery the firm applies an assessment process to evaluate the robustness of the managers' investment approach and the integrity of its application in practice.
Nathan Gelber is the founder and chief investment officer of Stamford Associates.