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Independent voices: Offshore IFAs reveal tricks of the trade

Independent voices: Offshore IFAs reveal tricks of the trade

 

Rey Deborja

Lincoln Financial Advisors

Financial planner

Campbell, California

What kind of client does your firm serve?

Private Wealth Financial Partners is a fee-based financial planning firm with experience in asset management, business continuity and wealth transfer strategies. We provide clients with fee-based retirement, estate and business succession planning, as well as related estate tax, investment and insurance strategies.

What recent changes have you made to your business?

We have been strengthening our partnerships with tax and legal professionals in order to further assist our clients with any legal or regulatory query they might have.

In addition, we have also been continuing to educate our clients and train our staff to improve our service. We have been bringing our national resources together on a team that will benefit each client and communication that builds understanding and trust – these are the qualities of our ‘Serve First’ philosophy. And these are the commitments we make to each of our clients.

What are your goals for the next one to three years?

One of the main goals we are working on is to fully automate our internal processes and become a truly digitalized practice that can respond to the times.

What is your best investment call?

I have to say that one of the best ‘calls’ we have achieved was to keep our clients invested during March’s Covid-19 market crash.

What company do you admire and why?

Google, and it’s not just because they are in our backyard. The company has adapted and evolved from a search engine to one of the biggest companies in the world with many different units and businesses.

What is the main challenge facing your industry?

For me, the biggest challenge we as advisors are facing is that our industry is being vilified for its achievements, which I feel are unjustified. I also think the push to replace financial advisors with robots and algorithms is another big issue we need to contend with.

Andrés Ballestas

Ballestas Group

Managing partner

Miami, Florida

What kind of client does your firm serve?

The Ballestas Group provides a fully integrated solution in private wealth management that helps families in Latin America, Europe, and the US to organize, preserve, and grow their wealth. We maximize value through conscientious strategic planning, risk management, and impeccable execution.

What recent changes have you made to your business?

We have switched to holding team and client meetings remotely through videoconferencing. Despite a lack of understanding of technology from older clients and industry professionals, it has been impressive to see how quickly people have adapted to change and how efficient online videoconferencing can be.

This has been a drastic change for us, as in-person meetings have always been deemed essential and we are dedicated to providing a high level of customer service in a proactive and responsible manner. We believe that videoconferencing has become an unexpected tool that can be used to help exceed client expectations.

What is your best contrarian call?

During the first quarter of 2020, we added a liquid absolute return strategy to increase protection of our portfolios on the downside. This strategy acts as a cushion and helps us protect capital during the most volatile period of the market.

What company do you admire and why?

Berkshire Hathaway, because we adhere to Warren Buffet’s philosophy. Buffet asserts that there are only two rules to investing: The first is never loose money, and the second is never forget rule number one. By preserving capital in the short term, we achieve market returns over a full market cycle without the added volatility.

What is the main challenge facing your industry?

We think there is a general belief among younger family members that anyone can make investments. However, without the proper preparation and formation this can bring about unfruitful results. People seek profitability without considering risk, volatility, and liquidity, which can lead to hasty decisions that do not take into account the risk-factor being assumed by certain investments. We work with younger family members to help them understand and manage risk.

Richard Ganter

Snowden Lane Partners

Managing director, Southeast region

Miami, Florida

What kind of client does your firm serve?

We have a robust onshore and offshore business which caters specifically to high net worth clients requiring complex financial solutions. Our client footprint spans globally across the US, Asia Pacific region, Central/South America, and Europe.

What are your goals for the next one to three years? 

Snowden Lane Partners has aggressive yet achievable goals. We have $5.6bn in assets under advisement and would expect that number to eclipse $10bn by the end of 2022. A key to achieving this goal is to attract and recruit top talent. Because we are a boutique firm, our advisors have at least 15 years of industry experience, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a complete understanding of client financial needs. These advisors want to take back control and grow their practices – perfect for our firm.

What is your best contrarian call? 

By definition, a contrarian opposes or rejects the popular opinion. In 2009, real estate was in free fall. At another firm, I consulted with a boutique private equity firm and rolled out their first real estate fund. By the end of the year, we raised and successfully invested the entire capital during one of the worst real estate bear markets in our country’s history. To be a contrarian, long-term investing helps remedy risk.

What is the main challenge facing your industry? 

Regulations have caused an overreaction by big firms causing corporate policy changes. This will probably continue to be at the forefront of our industry. For so many big firms, navigating this seems to have empowered corporate decisions that have taken control away from clients and advisors. Additionally, new regulations have started to impede on advisor/client relationships due to firm policies intended to manage risk exposure for the masses and not top-tier advisors. For any advisor who knows me, I always remind them not to forget whose money it really is. Some firms’ policies have dismissed this very basic understanding.

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