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As such we have to remain abreast of happenings in the traditional private client industry as well as in the intermediary space, both in South Africa and abroad.

Historically, clients with individual share portfolios or any other assets which couldn’t be wrapped in an endowment policy or unit trust – such as Kruger Rands - tended to have an account with a stockbroker. There was a clear distinction between what a financial intermediary did and what a stockbroker did, and never the twain shall meet. In recent years this has changed in the high net worth market, and while the two remain separate disciplines, interaction over client portfolios is becoming far more frequent. Possible reasons for this change include:

  • Clients demanding more than share tips from their stock broker. This drove the evolution from stock broking firms to private client wealth managers;
  • Financial intermediaries realising that they were effectively excluded from the largest part of a high net worth client’s wealth if they were ill equipped to include share portfolios in their overall analysis;
  • A realisation that holistic wealth management is not a product sale and requires access to a client’s entire balance sheet i.e. to all assets and liabilities if it is to be done correctly.

The above has led to increasing numbers of intermediaries writing the requisite regulatory exams and applying for licenses that enable them to provide a more all-encompassing service to their clients. This has also meant that product providers have had to adapt and provide adequate and appropriate training to those intermediaries operating in the upper echelons of the market.

We increasingly see that intermediaries are prepared to refer high net worth clients to firms such as SPI comfortable that both parties provide the client with complementary services, that the client’s investment needs will be expertly taken care of, and that the relationship between the client and the intermediary will be respected.

As the needs of high net worth clients vary, SPI has, over the last three years, enhanced its offering to include amongst others, an art advisory service, a fiduciary and tax service, a wealth management service and a bespoke offshore portfolio management service. These, together with our traditional stock broking and portfolio management services, provide a holistic wealth offering that is proving very attractive to both high net worth clients and financial intermediaries operating in this market, alike.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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