Client Affairs

INTERVIEW: Global MFO SandAire's Quest To Enhance Client Engagement

Eliane Chavagnon, Editor - Family Wealth Report, February 25, 2014


Karen Clark of SandAire spoke to FWR about the firm's latest initiatives, centered on what has always been important subjects in the wealth management world: client engagement and the concept of wealth.

Wealth managers have historically relied on a limited set of ways to connect with their clients, which in the words of one global MFO is understandable and can be reassuring, but hasn’t stopped it from seeking deeper levels of engagement.

Karen Clark of SandAire spoke to Family Wealth Report about the firm's latest initiatives, centered on what have always been important subjects in the wealth management world: client engagement and the concept of wealth.

“Someone who has inherited wealth might have a different impression of wealth than someone who has worked for 40 years and then sold a business, or someone who has married into it,” said Clark, director and head of client team, who splits her time between California and London.

“Wealth is not just a series of numbers; it’s a series of opportunities, challenges and responsibilities. It’s very personal,” she added.

By way of background, SandAire was established in 1996 and currently has around 34 members of staff across the UK, US and Singapore. Clark said it is over the last four years that the firm has become “known in a wider element.”

Notably, its roster of clients with US connections is expanding in light of increased demand from this segment. The MFO has around $3.3 billion in assets and currently works with 18 families, around a quarter of which have connections with the US. The firm is also talking to several families in Latin America.

SandAire has a strong background in dealing with US clients, which Clark noted few UK-based firms have the ability to do - or indeed have an interest in doing - because Americans are complicated in terms of their tax reporting, etc.

“We have attracted more interest from the Americas in general. There are very few firms outside of the US that are interested in having US clients because there is some confusion and concern about the reporting that is required for US residents and citizens,” Clark said.

“Dealing with ‘US persons’ is not something we have sought to avoid and we could not have done so as many of our UK-based families have sent their children to attend US universities.  The issues that arise if they do not return or marry a US citizen are many and complicated.  We are currently anticipating several of these situations as it will change the way the family’s planning and the way we manage assets for those family members.”

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