This interview was originally published in the Acclaim magazine, edited by WealthBriefing.
Tom Burroughes, WealthBriefing’s Group Editor, interviews Stuart Parkinson, Group CEO, Lombard International Group.
Against the backdrop of a significant period of uncertainty across the world, I’m proud that our experience, deep local knowledge and specialist expertise is truly appreciated by our partners and clients. The talent and skill of our people to rise to the challenges faced has been remarkable. The Best Private Client Wealth Planning Team Award really underscores that, as does being a finalist in the Specialist Wealth Manager Category. We are honoured to receive such recognition in our Group’s 30th anniversary year.
2021 is a special year for Lombard International Group. Could you please tell us a bit more about it?
This year marks our 30-year anniversary. Our legacy as an industry pioneer turned leading global provider of customised insurance based wealth, estate and succession planning solutions is built on the backbone of the innovative spirit, specialist knowledge, leadership and expertise of our people, past and present. So for us, 2021 is a marked celebration of our talented and dedicated 500+ international team.
This milestone is also testament to the value we place in all our partnerships. Our 30 years’ experience means that we truly understand what matters when it comes to protecting and preserving wealth today, so that it can be passed on to future generations. This is what drives us. We have the expertise and global reach to help our partners, clients and their trusted advisers navigate changing times, unpredictable geopolitical landscapes, complex requirements, dynamic financial markets and shifting regulatory regimes. Serving the needs of upper affluent, HNW and UNHW individuals, families and their advisers, we exist to make our clients’ legacy count.
Lombard International Group won the Private Client Wealth Planning award this year. Have you noticed any change in your partners and clients’ wealth planning needs and expectations following the recent pandemic?
Increasing geopolitical and macro-economic uncertainty, a fast-evolving regulatory environment, and a greater requirement for transparency means that the landscape is constantly shifting. And far from curbing it, the pandemic has only intensified the demand for truly tailored wealth planning solutions.
Our role is to anticipate how we meet and succeed the needs of our partners and clients by being future-ready, human-led and digitally enabled. The importance of listening to and understanding our clients fast-evolving needs cannot be overstated, and as such, last year we launched the European Wealth Assurance Survey. As the market leader it was important to undertake this first of its kind analysis, which examined the role of wealth assurance solutions in wealth planning and how these solutions are perceived and used by wealth professionals across Europe.
The study across 12 jurisdictions revealed regulation, innovation and market conditions to be the most significant challenges to navigate. Additionally, heightened expectations on digitalised services and geo-flexibility are driving ever more multifaceted and sophisticated needs for clients who also want solutions that are comprehensive, compliant, and proven, whilst also highly flexible and adaptable to evolving lifestyles, that stretch across multiple jurisdictions and asset classes.
Against a significant period of uncertainty across the world, I’m proud that our experience, deep local knowledge and specialist expertise is truly appreciated by our partners and clients. The talent and skill of our people to rise to the challenges faced has been remarkable. The Best Private Client Wealth Planning Team Award really underscores that, as does being a finalist in the Specialist Wealth Manager Category.
What do you believe are the prospects for wealth management in the future bearing in mind a new social and economic environment ahead?
In a nutshell - positive - the industry has navigated the last 12 months well - providers need to think and plan ahead with pragmatism and now with the benefit of hindsight. Over the coming months we will transition to a new post-pandemic era with economies slowly beginning their road to recovery.
The need for bespoke wealth planning solutions designed for HNW individuals and their families will become even more important. Our research has shown that 54 per cent of wealth professionals predict the Unit-Linked life insurance market is becoming increasingly relevant and is set to grow over the next five years to help deliver on these dynamic, evolving wealth planning needs.
As we look at the global markets and asset allocation strategies, we are likely to see a growing trend towards non-traditional assets with greater focus on green growth and sustainability. Investors will be seeking new
ways to tackle these systemic risks and the appetite for ESG investing will continue to grow as HNWIs re-examine where their wealth is being invested, who is managing their assets, reconsider the ‘purpose’ of their wealth and align their assets with their non-financial goals.
The changing social demographics, modern family dynamics and the current transfer of wealth to the next generation provide fresh opportunities and challenges for the industry. Clients, regardless of generation, are geographically diverse, invest in multiple asset classes, and often have personal and business requirements intertwined with cross-border lives. We should be advocates, and innovators, helping clients understand how we can best help them protect, preserve, and pass on their wealth.
What is your strategy to stay on the front foot in a challenging environment such as this?
Against the backdrop of an increasingly digitally connected and complex world, our agility, expertise, and knowledge are at the forefront to meet the most complex of financial needs with choice and flexibility.
Our forward-looking strategy is focused on the continued and sustainable growth of Lombard International Group, underpinned by operational and service excellence. Under this framework we are further bolstering our
technology investments, enhancing our global connectivity, strengthening and leveraging the footprint of the group, building differentiated product offerings, whilst also sharpening our market expertise. We are striving to become even more connected globally, ensuring that we continue to provide the level of service that our partners and clients expect across all the geographies in which we serve.