Tuesday 21 November 2017

Smith & Williamson makes direct pitch for Ireland's rich

Thomas Molloy and James Lynch

LONDON investment bank Smith & Williamson went head-to-head with the country's existing stockbrokers when it launched a range of new services in Dublin yesterday aimed at wealthy families and charities.

The 130-year-old private wealth manager -- which has 10 offices in the UK and Ireland and employs 1,500 people -- is aiming to win customers who have lost faith in existing wealth managers since the recession, which "tarnished" the links between clients and advisers.

Smith & Williamson has hired stockbrokers such as Cedric Cruess Callaghan and Frank Brennan from Goodbody to help run the new offices based in Dublin city centre and Sandyford in south Dublin.

The company has €12bn under management with 85pc belonging to individuals and families. Unlike many other wealth managers, Smith & Williamson tends not to manage money for large institutions.The Irish operations include a private bank based in the IFSC as well as tax advisers, an accountancy practice and investment advice. Unlike many private wealth managers here, the company does not offer services to property syndicates and tends to shy away from what it calls illiquid investments.

"Our offering is a global service with an Irish view," said director Christopher Kenny. "We needed to have the right people here."

Smith & Williamson's average client is a family with about €500,000 to invest in a mixture of pensions and children's trusts, Mr Kenny said. Most Irish clients are likely to focus on pensions because there are few other tax-efficient methods of organising finances at present, he said. Some families have already invested with Smith & Williamson for four generations, he added.

Fees average around 1pc of total investments. "We're not the cheapest in town but nor are we expensive," he said.

Many investors are missing the rebound in shares outside Ireland because their investment horizons are too limited, Smith & Williamson investment strategist Philip Lawlor said.

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