We have had a busy year at Wise Investment, which has been a period of change and development for our business. We hope that our clients have not noticed too much from the outside, whether you’re an individual looked after by our Wise Investment team or an investor in the Wise Funds and Evenlode Income. But internally we have been laying the groundwork for what I hope will be significant improvements in the ways in which we can interact with our clients and look after their financial and investment needs.
Our aims for our business are simple: we would like to offer the sort of financial planning and investment management services that we would want to receive ourselves. We want to develop long running relationships with our clients, which means we can know what their requirements are and how they evolve over time. It also enables us to manage investments through thick and thin, meaning that we can always keep the long run in focus and not get distracted by the short-term vicissitudes of investment markets.
With that in mind we are lucky to have many long-standing clients. We are also fortunate to have welcomed many new clients and investors in recent years. That is a positive development but also brings unique challenges. Much of our development and internal investment is being made to ensure that we can continue to give our clients the personal service that we would like to deliver.
Supporting our business
Wise Investment is all about people – those who we serve and those who we work with. From starting with our Chairman Tony Yarrow in his home basement, we now have a staff of twenty eight at our Chalford offices. Our private clients number over six hundred and we have thousands of underlying investors in the Wise Funds and Evenlode Income. Very clearly the requirements for managing and serving this growing cohort have changed over the years, and we have had to develop our staffing accordingly.
To that end we have put in place a number of business support positions within the firm. These roles support client-facing and investment staff by providing the infrastructure that we need. They are often not awfully visible to the outside world, but are vital in enabling the business to function.
For our Wise Investment client services department we have hired a number of advisory and administrative staff. You will get to know our 2015/16 new joiners Chris, Steph, Karen, Sunnie and Beth over the coming months and years. Naturally we are aiming for our service levels to be maintained and indeed improved; private clients will continue to have named individual points of contact and we hope the longevity of your relationships will span into the future as they have proven to in the past.
For our Wise Funds and Evenlode fund management department we have been developing our analytical team, and have welcomed Chris, Callum and Manasa during 2015. They are working with the fund managers to deepen and broaden their collective knowledge base and continuously improve the application of research to the management of fund portfolios. We have a departmental manager, Nicole, joining in January, alongside Chris in IT and John in marketing, meaning that we will be able to sharpen our focus on the analysis and operations that are essential to our ongoing management of the funds.
Of course, I should mention the staff that started 2015 with Wise. Their dedication and abilities are the reasons I am able to write this review at all, having worked tirelessly to develop and deliver our services to date. All of the developments we are progressing with are possible because of the great shape we find our business in, and it is the existing staff who have put us on the right start to a virtuous circle of investment.
For my part, I was honoured to be asked to take on the position of Chief Executive during 2015, and I am looking forward to working with all of our staff to deliver an outstanding service to our clients in the years ahead. Wise Investment is an employee-owned business, meaning that we really are all in it together. Working collectively for the benefit of our customers could not be a more appealing business prospect.
Whilst we think that our relationships with our clients are the lifeblood of our business, we cannot ignore the continuously evolving channels through which we are able to forge those connections. The rise of the Internet has presented a plethora of new means of communication, which our clients increasingly use and so, too, should we. Technology has developed to a point where we are able to harness the best to facilitate our services.
During 2015 we undertook a comprehensive review of the technologies available to us to improve our operations and service. Some of the technology will not be very obvious to the outside observer, being designed to make our internal operations more robust and efficient. Some will be front and centre of our outward facing proposition, and will be very visible. I am excited about the opportunities to enhance our capabilities in both areas.
Whilst the technology is very exciting, implementation will take time. 2016 will involve extensive work to narrow down our options, put the necessary infrastructure in place and port our existing data over to the new systems. There will be no need for our clients to do anything, but we will announce any relevant details in due course.
What 2016 holds
Very simply, we will be doing our utmost to give our clients the financial advice they need, and to position their portfolios to deliver good investment returns in the long run. There are, as ever, any number of economic, political and other factors that may affect us along the way. We think that only by developing our people and our systems will we be able to navigate through these potential headwinds and foster the long-standing relationships that we want with our clients and investors. I am personally delighted that we have such a strong team at Wise Investment, enthusiastically working for our customers as well as for each other; that really does give us the greatest chance of success.
Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year.