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Financial planning or wealth management – is there a difference?

17 March 14

What does wealth management actually comprise, and who should be considering it?

by Craig Gibson

It certainly appears that when you get far enough up the wealth scale, the necessary knowledge and skills, and the associated tasks a wealth manager performs in their daily job, really do begin to change, and wealth management begins to represent a body of knowledge distinct from financial planning. Or at the least, it represents a distinct specialisation of the field, not unlike how an orthopaedic surgeon represents a significant depth of knowledge and skills, with different job tasks to the general practitioner physician. And in turn, the delivery of these wealth management tasks, skills, and knowledge lends itself to different business models: wealth management will provide access to specialised advisers (investment, legal, taxation and international), or may include a family office that serves a relatively limited number of very high net worth clients with unique services as a business model that simply couldn’t be done economically and feasibly in a financial planning firm with hundreds of clients.

The difference is really big-picture. Financial planning usually means creating a strategy for accumulating wealth for retirement and personal goals. Investment management focuses on managing financial assets with a performance level in mind. Wealth management, in comparison, considers the total net worth of a family, a couple or an individual. It weighs financial decisions in light of an investment portfolio and additional components of the financial picture such as property, insurance, a business, charitable gifting and more.

Yet it is also about paying attention to detail. Every successful professional or business owner reaches a point of delegation – there comes a point at which you can’t do it all yourself. Indeed, it can be hazardous to try and keep track of every detail without help. The same goes for your finances – your investments, your taxes, your various assets.

Good wealth management helps you stay on top of things. A skilled wealth management firm pays attention to many of the financial details in your life for you. You can free up your mind. You feel confident because the wealth management firm has an ongoing relationship with you, with regular reviews and open communication.

Wealth management unites your existing advisers from different disciplines as a team. The team looks at your goals, needs and priorities to determine the right, bespoke strategy for guiding your invested assets and enhancing your net worth.

With over 20 years’ industry experience each, our senior team have all worked in private wealth management divisions of major multinational financial institutions. We are able to offer private and business clients a completely holistic approach to their wealth planning needs through a range of core disciplines. For example, we provide forensic investment analysis, critical risk profiling, and wealth creation and distribution strategies. Through our internal partners we can provide business restructuring strategies, international relocation planning, and personal and company taxation solutions.

Our external business partners offer our clients access to property management facilities, discretionary investment management and private banking services.

When is it time for wealth management? If you have too many financial concerns, issues or priorities to address by yourself, then it is certainly time for this kind of financial care. And even if your financial life is less complex, significant wealth calls for a vigilant, ongoing management approach.

Craig T Gibson Managing Director AGL Wealth Management Ltd Glasgow: 0141 314 3765 Edinburgh: 0131 240 3830 email: info@aglwealth.com web: www.aglwealth.com

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