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Wealth management firms are sometimes bundled with asset management firms as a similar but more comprehensive business model. They are usually characterised by dealing only with high net worth individuals, family offices or trusts with substantial family assets. Clients of such firms generally expect a rounded view of market opportunities with preservation of capital as the first objective.

The compliance exposures of wealth management firms have been widely publicised by regulators, which has placed an ongoing emphasis on their inadequate procedures for meeting suitability criteria. Wealth management firms differentiate themselves from pure asset managers by extending their assessment of their clients’ requirements to banking services, custody, trust services, tax advice and general financial planning. Some of these specialised services are frequently outsourced in smaller firms and this can raise questions of outsourcing control and supervision as required by the regulator.

Suitability procedures are not merely box-ticking exercises. A firm’s decisions on asset allocation require a comprehensive understanding of the client’s needs, objectives and risk appetite.

CCL has worked extensively with wealth management firms from authorisation to application of senior management controls in mature businesses. Our aim is always to facilitate the smooth operation of our client’s activities with a close attention to the detail of regulatory compliance.

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