Currently head of wealth planning at LGT Vestra, Simon Allister joined the firm in February 2014 having previously held a similar position at HSBC Private Bank advising the banks largest clients on all areas of wealth planning and international wealth structuring.
He works alongside investment advisers and other specialists to facilitate and coordinate all aspects of a client’s financial affairs, from advising the family business to complex succession and governance requirements.
Allister works with a diverse set of clients ranging from individuals to companies, partnerships and trusts. ‘As a business, we aim to provide a fully integrated all-encompassing investment management and wealth planning service,’ he explains. His team facilitates ongoing wealth planning advice for around 80 clients with combined AUM in excess of £250 million.
LGT Vestra provides wealth management services to HNW and UNHW clients. ‘We have a transparent charging structure which is a fee based on AUM. We are open architecture. We are focused on building lasting partnerships with our clients. We always take a long-term approach to our decisions, avoiding short-term actions that may compromise the stability of our firm, and crucially the trust of our clients,’ Allister explains.
No month is ever the same. ‘The role and workload are fluid and evolve in line with both clients’ changing circumstances and changes in the economic and political environment,’ says Allister pointing to ‘a raft of recent legislative changes’, most notably with regards to UK resident non-domiciled individuals, that have made the need for financial and personal “housekeeping” more important than ever.
Allister notes a general trend towards keeping things simple: ‘we find clients do not want any additional undue complexity to their financial affairs. Whilst the political and economic landscape remains uncertain, there has been a “wait and see” tendency for those international clients with a UK base.’
Despite short term Brexit uncertainty, he is in no doubt that London remains an integral centre for wealth management. He is passionate about the firm too. ‘I joined because I truly believed the firm offered a different approach to wealth management; putting client’s interests at the forefront of all we do,’ he explains. ‘Many firms discuss this without actually practicing what they preach. With the integration with LGT we see very exciting times ahead.’
Longer term challenges to the firm and the industry as a whole include incorporating the use of technology into their ongoing advice process, as well as maintaining service levels alongside additional regulatory cost pressures and constraints, which continue to come in.
Although he says it is difficult to pinpoint a single memorable moment in his career, attending the wedding of a long-standing clients’ first child last year was certainly validation of decades of hard work. ‘Being part of an event like that, seeing the transition in the family dynamic and being a part of guiding them through the transition over a number of years, reaffirmed to me the valuable job that we do.’
‘I do not have a mentor as such, although I have been fortunate to learn from some hugely inspiring individuals both within and outside of the industry,’ says Allister, who is a keen sports enthusiast having recently completed the Prince to Prince bike ride from London to Liechtenstein in aid of The Princes’ Trust.’