Matthews might have stumbled upon the wealth management industry ‘completely by accident’, but he describes the diversion from his initial interest in the hospitality business as a happy coincidence. His preconception of the private banking world as a ‘number-crunching’ landscape quickly turned into a business entirely focused on personal relationships. ‘I could find the values of hospitality in private banking,’ he says.
‘Clients are more astute about where their money is placed,’ the warm and engaging Jersey-based director says, a trend he has seen over the past few years. But he sees the increasing awareness as a positive: ‘We welcome the conversations.’
‘I think it’s good that private clients take much more care in picking a financial institution, because there are so many to pick from. If they just looked at pricing or products, then they can pick any one of the global wealth managers.
‘But, especially for clients that are holding banking deposits, they’ve become so much more astute. They are asking many more intricate questions, about how the actual balance sheet is constructed.’
Furthermore, listening to clients articulate their concerns does give him insight into their wealth priorities, he says: ‘At the end of the day, it’s a relationship business, and the relationship will grow or die on the strength of how good we are at really understanding what’s important to our clients.’
Despite clients’ increasing awareness, Matthews is surprised that some wealth managers still offer services that are sub-par.
‘My clients commonly tell me that their advisers change quite frequently at other institutions and I think this makes it difficult for their new advisors to spend enough time trying to really understand what is important to the clients,’ he argues. ‘The wealth management industry needs to get a little bit smarter and stop taking private clients for granted.’