For wealth managers, gaining the trust of clients is critical to success. But what’s the best way of building it and, once you’ve got it, how can you keep it? We spoke to an award-winning wealth manager, Mark MacSymon, from multi-award-winning firm, Private Client Holdings (PCH), to find out.

When we meet Mark MacSymon, he reminds us of a famous quote by Warren Buffet: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”

Mark reflects: “It’s perfectly put. It’s not just about making one good decision but rather compounding one on top of another.”

Mark has been part of PCH for eight years, it’s a firm with an almost 30-year history. Its strategy for managing family wealth is comprehensive and integrated in approach, offering many services under one roof, it’s also one which has been recognised with multiple industry awards. Just last year, Mark himself was named Financial Planner of the Year by the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa. So, what’s the secret to PCH's success?

Trust is built over time. Making good decisions one on top of another.

“I was immensely proud to win as you are benchmarked against many other well-respected wealth managers in the industry. But awards such as this one, don’t just happen, it’s the product of the support of the whole team at PCH.”

Winning awards builds great credibility. How has it benefited the business?

“Our existing clients have gained further confidence in us and it’s only natural that people want to be associated with success, so it has helped us to attract new clients too. Above all it is a testament to our company that we are consistently finding the best solutions for our clients.”

Giving clients the reassurance they want
Awards aside, Mark believes the key to winning the trust of clients is by building solid relationships, much of which is down to regular client contact and keeping the human connection.

“We are able to be more responsive to our clients and their needs nowadays. We use technology to engage with them in real-time. Of course, more often than not, clients want to make the big decisions face to face, but a lot more of our client meetings are taking place via video conference technology.”

We are able to be more responsive to our clients’ needs by using the right technology.

“Clients want real-time information data feeds that are virtually instantaneous. They want to be able to log in and have a quick look wherever they are. Using the right tech, we make this possible. It saves an incredible amount of time for our business and gives clients the reassurance and information they need - it’s a win win.”

Delivering the best outcomes
Reassurance is an important value for PCH and is key in helping clients make important decisions.

“We’ve built our business on creating an integrated environment, by ensuring short channels of communication between decision-making specialists. This family-office approach of handling the matters of our clients and their families enables us to tend toward optimal advisory outcomes. We can effectively have a legal practitioner, a private banker, a wealth manager and a chartered accountant at the table which allows for accurate and considered recommendations. Technology has empowered us to form a partnership and a bond, by drawing clients closer into the process. This has empowered us to be highly agile.”

The key to creating and keeping trust
Agility, technology and trust go hand in hand and enable PCH to build strong relationships. But what else would Mark say is part of PCH's winning formula?

“To remain a trusted adviser, we need to remain ahead of industry trends and incorporate the latest fintech advancements into our business processes. Offering tech communication solutions which facilitate easy client engagement helps us to listen carefully to our clients’ needs and is another critical ingredient to our success.

The key to success and creating and keeping trust is to listen to clients very carefully.

“Ultimately, gaining the trust and doing simply what is right for our clients and helping them achieve their varying financial objectives is what drives us. It is about being open and responsive to great ideas. Listen to your clients, very carefully. It’s the way to make really effective decisions together.”

Mark MacSymon  M Com Economics - Stellenbosch University 
Adv PGDip (Financial Planning) - University of the Free State
2017 / 2018 FPI Financial Planner of the Year Award in South Africa

Private Client Holdings  Founded as tax consultancy in 1990 PCH has grown into a wealth and asset management company that now offers a comprehensive multi-family office service. Winners of International Adviser Best Practice Adviser Awards in 2016 and 2017 (Excellence in Professional Development and Excellence in Business Strategy). This included being awarded the IABP Best Adviser Firm in South Africa in 2017. PCH is one of only 15 accredited FPI PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES™ in South Africa.