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Takeaways from the London Family Office and Wealth Management Conference

Dolfin co-sponsored DC Finance’s London Family Office and Wealth Management Conference on 6 June.

15 June 2017 / Investing

The conference hosted international ultra-high-net-worth families for a day of education and exchange of knowledge and information. The conference organiser and publisher of Family Wealth magazine has been instrumental in building an international network of high-net-worth individuals, family offices and investors for mutual growth and support, and held its first London conference in 2016.

Speakers at the 2017 event included Gina Miller, co-founder of SCM Direct and founder of the True and Fair Foundation and a leading figure in the Brexit legal challenge; Dr Percy Barnevik, who has led international corporations including ABB, Astra Zeneca, Skanska and Sandvik and is now best known for his philanthropic work with the non-profit organisation Hand in Hand; and Julian Radcliffe, Chairman of the International Art and Antique Loss Register.

Subject matter discussed on the day was wide-ranging, including not only specific investment topics of interest to single- and multiple-family offices, but also wider issues encompassing politics, society and the arts. Keynote addresses and panel discussions included investing in innovation, real estate and last-mile logistics in space, the practicalities of establishing a family office and succession planning, and charitable giving and extreme expeditions.

Shifting focus

“It was an interesting conference and reaffirmed the direction Dolfin is moving in,” says Georgios Ercan, Dolfin’s Head of Sales. “Single and multi-family offices have been increasing their exposure to private markets and direct investments. The reason behind this is the underperformance of the alternatives allocation (funds and hedge funds) of their portfolios. High fees, lack of transparency and liquidity constraints are off-putting for investors. Dolfin’s unconstrained investing tackles these pain points.”

Dolfin’s Chief Investment Officer, Vassilis Papaioannou, who was invited to speak at the event, chose as his topic the concept of unconstrained investing, a framework that is applied in Dolfin’s portfolios.

“Traditionally, investors build multi-asset portfolios under the core-satellite approach, which has equities and fixed income at the core, with hedge funds or structured products as satellites,” he says. “Unconstrained investing is a benchmark-free approach that focuses on risk guidelines, low fees, transparency, liquidity and active direct management. Our strategy is to diffuse the unconstrained effect across all asset classes, rather than being reliant on the hedge fund allocation.”

Correct alignment

Papaioannou elaborates that Dolfin’s fixed-income portfolios are constructed keeping in mind the discrepancy between low yields and high duration in the benchmark markets, and that its strategy is to seek out opportunities in ‘below the radar’ issuers or inconsistencies and inefficiencies across markets.

Papaioannou’s insight into Dolfin’s innovative strategy was in keeping with the thought leadership that emerged on the day. The changing landscape in which we live and invest was expressed in ideas such as the importance of handling fear and risk in a family office environment, the neuroscience of wealth and the abstract nature of money. The need for agility and innovation against this backdrop is clearly reflected in Dolfin’s investment philosophy.

“The unconstrained journey we take with our clients emphasises transparency, risk management, liquidity and active management,” says Papaioannou.

Ercan concludes: “Because unconstrained investing is not benchmark-driven, it allows us to deliver alpha without charging our clients the high fees associated with hedge funds.”

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Founded as a London-based wealth boutique in 2013, today we’re a diversified financial services firm with an international presence and our own bespoke technology platform.

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