As a fiduciary advisor or ‘wealth coach’, we offer independent and efficient assistance for family and institutional assets, with focus on the long term.
It is the job of the wealth coach (or ‘financial adviser’) to help select the external managers and to guide them in order to monitor the risks and returns of the portfolio as a whole and to manage the wealth in relation to the liabilities. The first step is dynamic “asset and liability management”. The financial adviser takes the current assets and liabilities situation as a starting point to determine an investment and risk management strategy in consultation with the client, who always remains at the helm and has the final say.
The financial manager will set up an effective governance structure to ensure that the client always has the right – and most recent – information and advice. The managers are supervised in the first instance by the financial adviser, who will ensure standardised reporting and monitoring and who can therefore take an objective view of the analysis of their performance.
The financial adviser ensures transparency about the investment policy, the returns and the costs of these in order to ensure that the client has the right tools available. If several custodians are used, this also requires a standardised “translation” of the various reports, including the definition of the financial instruments, the returns and the costs.
Econopolis may also give advice on unlisted instruments, by calling on our Private Investments Team, which has already made various investments in debt and capital in unlisted companies over the last few years (approx. EUR 100 million in the last 2 years).
The split between management and deposits leads to greater transparency for the client and lower costs in general. This is because clients often only see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to costs.
Econopolis’ approach is geared to making competitive and transparent fee arrangements with the managers in terms of the actual management fees, subscription fees and transaction charges, and on closely tracking the entire cost development so that the total cost of management (and not just the visible “headline” charges) is always a bit lower than the market averages.
However, our focus on the security of the deposit is more important. There are a great many “universal bankers” in the market with rock-bottom charges for deposits, but that is usually driven by other motives such as collecting additional deposits on the balance sheet (for unsegregated deposits) or generating extra fees (retrocessions from fund houses, payments for lending financial instruments etc.). Analysis and ongoing monitoring of both the legal nature of management, the contractual rights of the manager (e.g. for lending financial instruments) as well as the solvency of the manager or group to which it belongs, has been a major focus since Econopolis was founded.
Although we generally prefer to select and assign a single central deposit bank (which is then not involved in the management), in certain cases other solutions with multiple managers may be appropriate. However, it always depends on avoiding potential conflicts of interest by making proper contractual arrangements with the managers.
References/track record: we have been providing fiduciary consultancy services for families and institutional investors since 2009. Most of our clients prefer to keep their business relationship with us confidential. Econopolis has been providing these services to a large number of clients both at home and abroad for many years.
Right from the start, Econopolis has invested in a multi-disciplinary team of people with an impeccable service record and sound knowledge of macro-economics (including Geert Noels, Maarten Geerdink and Bart Van Craeynest) and equity and bond picking. Since Econopolis also undertakes direct management for other clients, it has a day-to-day and practical understanding of how the mandates work, which enables it better to fulfil its role as a financial adviser.
Econopolis has quickly put its stamp on what is a relatively new activity for Belgium, and developed a solid method which it can now roll out to new clients.
In summary, Econopolis will carry out the following services as financial adviser:
- Determine the risk profile of the assets and any long-term liabilities
- Define and monitor the asset allocation
- Possibly centralise the deposits with one or more managers/depositaries that will also be responsible for handling the transactions on the accounts
- Help the client choose managers via a transparent process in which every manager is selected on their strengths
- Keep control of the cost structure
- Constantly monitor the portfolios and the performance of the managers
- Centralised reporting of how the wealth is developing
- Advise and monitor investments in unlisted asset categories (real estate, private equity, private listings)
- If necessary, help adapt or develop the governance structure and operational memorandum for the management and operation of the fund.