10 August 2018

Beware of Private Bankers offering 'products'

Any relationship with a Private Banker or Financial Adviser should be clearly defined. This applies in particular to the responsibility for investment decisions and performance. You either are fully in charge of all decisions - then you really need an execution-only broker, maybe an on line broker offering low commissions - or you give full discretionary authority to the banker/adviser.
The worst situation is where you get 'consulted' about any investment - in the worst case this is just a disguised sales pitch to make you invest in a 'product' that comes with a hefty commission for the banker/adviser. Even though quite a few jurisdictions prohibit these commissions (they can often be paid for as long as the client keeps the investment!) there are ways around these regulations. Firms set up in-house funds that come with fees or - even worse - create 'structured products' that come with opaque fees (and often risks that are not clearly discernible for the lay investor, however successful he/she may be in their own business). It is essential that investors get independent advice before and during the engagement of investment advisers. Fees, Risks and Performance can be monitored for a low annual or one-off fee.
No clear benchmarks, no capital protection, no stop-loss - these should set the alarm bells ringing for any investor/client.