The head of private wealth management at Kleinwort Benson has spent his entire career looking after the assets of UHNW individuals and families. This taught him how important it is to pull together the right team for each client. ‘There is no one packaged solution,’ he says, miraculously avoiding the industry’s preferred buzzword, ‘bespoke’.
Rothwell focuses on individuals with more than £25 million of assets – and he can rely on Kleinwort’s many fields of expertise to deal with some of their most complex needs. ‘This past year, for example, our team has put together some significant corporate transactions for family-owned businesses and assisted a number of wealthy families to put in place over-arching structures for their cross-border affairs which will enable them to have proper governance as they transfer wealth across generations,’ he says.
The engaging and insightful Rothwell clearly shares a certain verve with his entrepreneurial clients saying not only has he helped business owners and family business in managing their more personal affairs but he’s also aided them in raising capital and acquiring other businesses. ‘Corporate transactions for individuals is a really good space for us,’ he says pointing to the merchant banking heritage of his firm.
Kleinwort Benson have also been ahead of the curve in getting clients to benefit from the collective pooling of their knowledge and skills: ‘About fifteen years ago we set up something called the Entrepreneurs’ Forum which is still going strong,’ he says. ‘The speakers at those events are always entrepreneurs telling their story to the audience, it’s never a sales driven thing, or a pitch, it’s always about sharing information and sharing their journey. That’s been hugely successful.’
The former Schroders man has seen more international families move to London as the election has given ‘much greater certainty’ and says this as an opportunity to cement Kleinwort’s position. But he isn’t complacent: ‘There remain plenty of risks,’ he says, citing high global equity valuations, an extremely expensive fixed income market and interest rates which are likely to increase, leaving bonds unable ‘to provide the traditional diversification counter-weight to equities that they have done in times past. The challenge ahead will be about navigating the slippery slope between prudence and profit without falling over.’
Apart from keeping portfolios upright he says there are two specific instances that give him most satisfaction. The first being when he’s able to help clients solve an issue they did not think he would be able to help with. ‘To surprise and delight clients with your ability to see the broader picture, to help them get advice from another profession in the industry such as a lawyer or accountant when they’re in a tight spot; that sort of thing is really satisfying.’ The second is when he’s able to help them get the most out of their business, allowing them to generate wealth for themselves. ‘The really satisfying piece is when they turnaround and say “Listen KB, you did a really good job helping with my business, I now want to become a private client of KB and I want you to manage my money.”’