It comes down to who private banks work for: themselves or their clients
Ahead of the Spear's Wealth Management Awards tomorrow, a quick reflection on transparency is warranted.
The year to Q2 2012 was not a happy one for investment managers, as many big names fell prey to rising unemployment and falling growth.
Yet the fact that these figures are capable of using the veil of confidentiality to protect themselves as much as their clients is testament to the fact that anti-consumer behaviour still stalks the industry.
Some will say that rule number one of private clients is that information stays private and so not disclosing data to awards shows is reasonable. I’d agree with the first point but not the second. In an age when the majority of houses operate centralised investment processes which make performance aggregation easier than ever, there is no excuse for not publishing anonymised model data.
It comes down to who private banks work for: themselves or clients. If the latter then let aggregated data be published and stand accountable as, ultimately, they should show the same standards of transparency that they demand of third-party fund providers.
A sprinkling of initiatives has sprung up over the past decade to make benchmarking easier and fairer, from Asset Risk Consultants’ PCI (49 contributors paying £20k per annum) to SCM Private’s True and Fair Campaign. While these are to be applauded, I’d argue that ceremonies like the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards have a significant part to play too. Personally, I’m a believer in “no data, no award”, irrespective of how big the brand, and I’d like to see that attitude spread, starting on Tuesday night. Read more by Freddy Barker