Financial Concierge

Our client base has always been, and remains, high net worth individuals and families, charities and not for profit organisations.

Over the years, driven by the awareness of our clients’ growing needs, our business has evolved into something much more than just managing clients’ investments.

While never losing our focus of first and foremost being a superior long term funds manager, Harper Bernays has, over the years, quietly grown into a ‘Financial Concierge’ at our client’s request, where we exercise a high level of discretion and security in order to deliver the best possible outcome for our client’s financial and other related needs.  This also helps build a foundation of trust with our clients – the trust we seek to earn by constant and vigilant attention to every client’s needs.

As a result, directors of the company and, where appropriate, approved senior staff of the firm, upon request and free of charge, now act in a range of formal capacities for many of our clients.  These include, but are not limited to, acting as:

  • Power of Attorney;
  • Guardian;
  • Executor of a Will; and
  • Trustee of General and Special Purpose Trusts and Will Trusts.

Low staff turnover and the high level of experience of our staff ensure our clients get both continuity and a high level of competency in the parties taking direct responsibility for their financial and related needs.

Taking responsibility at a personal, and always at director level, rather than at a corporate level with regular turnover of junior account officers, is an important part of our service offering.

This continuity and intimate knowledge of our clients and their needs and circumstances, and the extent to which they have come to be comfortable with placing this trust in us, has often been critically important in both anticipating and ensuring optimum outcomes for our clients.

We have also installed a high security and easy to use electronic storage facility for our clients, which can be accessed electronically through a protected portal on our website, by both the client and anyone else that from time to time, at their sole discretion, they may wish to allow access to either all or selected parts of their financial and legal records.  More information on the portal can be found here.

Key Characteristics of our Financial Concierge Services

  • It’s free
  • We always outsource client needs, other than Funds Management
  • This outsourcing is never for commissions

It’s free – As long as clients retain their investment funds with us, all these services and the level of support we provide are provided free of charge. We have found that good clients don’t abuse this situation, and for our part, we only rest easy when we believe that all the factors that could affect financial outcomes for them have been satisfactorily addressed

We always outsource client needs, other than Funds Management. As a matter of Board policy, we have never retained core competencies in-house other than those associated with funds management and related activities. We have no intention of ever changing this position.Any other needs that are identified as a result of our contact with the client and which require specialist professional input, always have been and always will be outsourced to appropriate professionals.

This outsourcing is never for commissions and always to professionals known to us, and highly skilled in their area of expertise.

Referrals are based upon respect for appropriate professional expertise in every instance. For this reason, we only refer our clients to individuals whose competencies we already know, never a firm, and on the understanding that these parties will personally deal with our clients.

We can arrange referrals with respected professionals known to the firm.

We can either integrate into, or help you build the trusted network needed to maximise your financial outcomes where necessary, and upon request we can arrange external services or consultations to cover additional services:

  • Estate Planning
  • Tax advice and planning
  • Superannuation advice
  • The creation of special purpose vehicles
  • Budgeting and cash management

Being bespoke managers, we are happy to discuss and help seek solutions for you and your family for all financial matters.

 

Specific examples of the services we have provided to clients

Some specific examples are the best way to illustrate some of the many and varied things we have done to assist long standing clients, in addition to managing their investment portfolios.

Example 1

A long standing client, whilst in a rehabilitation hospital and then respite care recovering from a serious fall, required substantial modifications to the family home to ensure that she could safely return home with the blessing of her doctor and without her family being unduly concerned for her subsequent wellbeing. As there were no immediate family members living within thousands of miles of our client, and their capacities to move closer for any reasonable period of time were limited, with the family’s and our client’s approval, we organised and supervised architects and builders to modify the home to the satisfaction of all parties.

We also oversaw the tendering and contract process where necessary and arranged all purchases of necessary equipment and payments.     Subsequent to this, we also, on the family’s behalf, conducted a search for the most appropriate firm to provide full time at-home carers support for our client. We continued to oversee their Bills and household expenses on a monthly basis until, sadly, our client passed away.

The Chairman was an Executor of the Will and now acts as a Trustee of a substantial Testamentary Charitable Trust set up by our client.

Example 2

For an extended family for whom we have managed many portfolios over the years, and where directors of the firm have, and still do, perform a range of trustee, executor and administrative functions, we organised and ran internally a formal Mediation which resolved a substantial commercial conflict between family members which had the potential to rip the family apart, both financially and personally.

This dispute had dragged on, despite the attempts by various parties to resolve it, and was on the verge of being made very public through court proceedings.

At the request of the family’s patriarch and matriarch, and with the trust and approval of all parties, we, over a 3 day period ran a mediation process in-house. Thankfully, although there was some family healing that needed to take place, the benefits of its outcome have subsequently been obvious to all. The patriarch has since passed away happy that all his family were talking again; other family members to this day realise the financial catastrophe that was avoided whilst ensuring that a family matter was kept private. For our part, we couldn’t have been happier for a good family and good clients.

Example 3

Parents with both personal and charitable monies managed by Harper Bernays have asked senior personnel of the firm to help groom their children’s financial skills through involvement with the charitable monies managed by us.

This approach engaged the attention of the children, none of whom had any specialist financial education or skills at the commencement of the process. It has now operated for a number of years. Hopefully, it will achieve its desired outcome of assisting the successful intergenerational transfer and good management of family wealth.

We regularly meet with the parents to discuss progress.

Example 4

We play a considerable role in assisting the successful intergenerational transfer of family wealth for many of our clients.

Another example was playing, on request, the go-between between parents and their children, each with differing life circumstances and near and longer term needs, to ensure the best possible and most equitable structures and outcomes for all family members in the intergenerational transfer process. Discussions were conducted collectively and one on one to advance the process. Confidentiality and tact were the keys to an acceptable outcome for all parties.

Example 5

We arranged the lease of a cattle property and the auction and sale of produce for a city based client who had inherited rural enterprises.

We continued to monitor the lease arrangements and compliance with its terms and the collection of payments on a quarterly basis until the property was disposed of in an orderly manner and reinvested to the client’s long term benefit.

Example 6

The firm played a role in the transfer of international monies for a family member now living in Australia.

In concert with appropriate external parties, both here in Australia and overseas, all the appropriate Inheritance and other, and quite complex, domestic and international tax issues were dealt with to ensure the successful transfer of investment monies into a portfolio under our management.

These are but a small cross section of the many and diverse activities we have undertaken to advance or protect our clients’ interests.

We regularly play both a direct and referral role, where external expertise needs to be brought to bear, in organising the best structures for our clients’ investments.