The pinnacle of wealth curatorship

True wealth management is a subtle transformative process that connects a unique combination of elements to create a powerful outcome. It requires a specific mindset, a distinct philosophy and a true depth of expertise. Private Clients by Old Mutual Wealth has mastered these elements. We speak to the Head of Proposition and Business Development, Jaco Gouws.

Jaco Gouws, Head of Proposition and Business Development, Private Clients by Old Mutual Wealth
Jaco Gouws, Head of Proposition and Business Development, Private Clients by Old Mutual Wealth

In 2023, Old Mutual Wealth consolidated its high-net-worth business behind a unified proposition, Private Clients. Despite challenging market conditions, the unrelenting weak currency and muted business activity in South Africa, Private Clients witnessed remarkable growth over the last year.

Please provide an overview of Private Clients.

We offer bespoke and holistic global wealth and investment solutions that are tailored to high-net-worth individuals’ (HNWI) complex needs. Importantly, we forge quality, long-term partnerships with financial planners and their clients.

Partnerships are key because a team is required to identify and understand clients’ needs and cater to them in a personalised way. In this way, our approach is deeply tailored to individual needs and our process is streamlined, refined and integrated. We are agile and responsive because our clients lead busy lives and it’s crucial that everything runs seamlessly.

Please outline your services. 

HNWIs live and invest as global citizens and their wealth and solutions therefore need to come from a trusted partner who is geared towards helping them navigate the intricacies of global citizenship.

Investment management is at the heart of our business and we currently have a team of 30 dedicated portfolio managers who manage portfolios around the globe. Our clients need exclusive market access to unique investment opportunities and industries worldwide.

In addition to managing funds, we also ensure that our clients’ structures, or how they have set themselves up, are appropriate, efficient and effective. If the structure that owns the investment, whether an individual, company or trust, is not properly set up, fees will be wasted, taxes will be exorbitant and there are multiple other risks too.

We also focus on providing our clients with premium fiduciary services. Our fiduciary specialists have several decades of experience and offer advanced estate planning, drafting of wills, professional executorship as well as setting up and running local and international trusts as independent trustees.

In my experience of working with planners over the last two decades, clients often seek guidance in setting up specific structures that were recommended to them, particularly foreign structures. An example would be a client wanting to set up a trust in Mauritius. However, upon closer review, we often find that the respective structure will not necessarily help the client achieve his/her desired outcome. This is why the first, and most important, step is to help clients identify and unpack the actual need or objective they are trying to address. In such a scenario, our dedicated and experienced fiduciary specialists and portfolio managers are key partners in helping planners unpack this with their clients. Once this has been done, we, together with the planner, are then able to create and implement an appropriate solution for the client by tapping into our global network of specialist partners.

What do you attribute Private Clients’ success to?

Partnerships. The partnership we offer helps a financial planner transition from one person trying to solve multiple complexities to a team with the planner as the captain.

The world has changed and so too have HNWIs’ needs, which extend beyond geographies and generations. We work closely with planners to identify, plan and address clients’ needs, going beyond traditional asset allocation and portfolio management, and offer global opportunities that ordinarily cannot be accessed in South Africa. The global economy has various exciting prospects in terms of growing and diversifying.

So your success lies in the value that your partnership brings to financial planners?

Planners know and understand their clients intimately through relationships that have been built for years. We want planners to elevate and grow their practices, unlocking value by partnering with the best in various industries. This enables them to navigate around the complexities of different countries, tax jurisdictions and structures, which are continuously changing.

What gives Private Clients its edge?

You’ve got to do what the label says so if you want to manage wealth, you need to do it well. We have a very strong track record as our global equity, global balanced and local portfolios have done exceptionally well over the past five years. In this way, financial planners have confidence in knowing that their clients’ portfolios are being managed superbly.

Our true north is that we are very clear that the client relationship and the custodian of that relationship remain with the planner.

It’s this partnership with well-defined roles and responsibilities that gives planners comfort in the daunting task of introducing someone new (us) into their client relationship.

As a team, you can do so much more. Planners can access their ideal clients because they understand HNWIs’ needs, provide bespoke solutions and have the confidence to answer questions and exceed expectations. Our edge is our clear-cut partnerships, supported by a network of best-of-the-best global specialists.

Many financial planners are focused on the big drive for passive income and with us they’re gaining access to those clients. Premiumisation is a pricing strategy that leverages the unique characteristics of a product to influence the perceptions of clients so that they are willing to pay more for that product. Our partnership enables planners to premiumise their practices, attract their ideal clients and feel confident to charge an appropriate and professional fee.

How does Private Clients help financial planners to premiumise their practices?

Private Clients helps planners to premiumise by making them:

A safe bet. When you partner with us, you are partnering with a business that has demonstrated its ability to deliver investment returns worldwide no matter where we invest. We have almost two centuries’ worth of experience and our fiduciary business turns 100 in 2025. If you’re going to partner with us as a custodian, continuity will be there for your children and their children because that is important for high-net-worth clients. Global citizens want the peace of mind that in 30 years their great-great-grandchildren will be secure with their trust and finances. They are already very wealthy, and we look after their wealth.

A memorable experience. We partner with planners to create engagements with clients whether it’s a personal wine-tasting experience at home or in a very niche spot. We are invested in arts and we’re in all the places where HNWIs socialise. We create that platform for a planner to offer their clients a comfortable environment to spend time with the planner.

This raises the planner’s social image as they can solve their clients’ complex needs around the globe, which elevates the social image of the practice and when the practice elevates, other clients will want to deal with that practice – a self-fulfilling loop.

Simple and easy. We offer planners a dedicated portfolio manager, fiduciary specialist and client relationship manager, a whole team that’s always going to make business as easy as possible for them.

Innovative. We’re continuously bringing unique investment opportunities, themes and all those topics that are very relevant to high-net-worth individuals. We offer exclusive investments such as private equity to planners to take to their clients.

Contact Private Clients by Old Mutual Wealth at +27 (0)21 524 4678 or 

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