With an impressive track record in the private client space and expertise across wealth structuring and investments, Theophanis Theophanous was an undoubted catch for Barclays Private Bank when he was recruited to the organisation back in 2011. ‘Having a background wealth planning means you tend to see and understand client needs, and private banking is all about finding a solution to those needs’, Theophanous says. Now managing director of Key Clients & Family Offices, Theophanous has a simple mantra about what distinguishes him in the crowded field of private banking: his work is ‘advisory, advisory, advisory’. With a clientele which spans Dubai, Greece, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland — as well as non-doms from all over the world resident in London — one of the biggest challenges facing any wealth manager is giving the individual attention clients demand. Theophanous’ answer is to focus on building the rarest of commodities: trust. He recognises that ‘clients want an adviser, they don’t want a salesman’. This motivates the experienced wealth manager to stand apart from those competitors who are more concerned with their own bonus than with the client’s needs.
Theophanous’ sterling reputation is built on the fact that clients have no doubt as to where his loyalties lie. He builds on these relationships with his expertise in international wealth structuring in Greece, Russia, and Eastern Europe, skills he had been honing for ten years as a wealth planner at Deloitte prior to joining Barclays Private Bank. Theophanous is also a master at ensuring clients make the most of every opportunity, even as others see them as potential disasters. His clients, he says, are often ahead of the curve, and he has to be quick off the mark to stay one step ahead of them. ‘Our portfolios performed well and our clients are very satisfied with performance. This year we had many introductions from existing clients to their friends and family that is one of the best indicators of client satisfaction’ Rather than overreacting to the news cycle, Theophanous embodies the virtues of patience and foresight, using these to ensure his clients are never wrong-footed, whether that be in their investments or personal lives. If you ask Theophanous how to get ahead in private banking, he will give you a direct answer: ‘if you have a strong understanding of the client needs, you can be very successful.’ No matter how distinct the cultures are of his clients, nor how different their investment needs, clients put providing for their families and dependents at the core of what a wealth manager must provide.