Private Wealth Advisers | Financial Express Case Study


Private Wealth Advisers are an Auckland-based independent financial planning firm established in 2001, specialising in bespoke portfolios for individuals, trusts and organisations. They manage approximately NZD $400 million of their clients’ assets and have a staff of 5 including 3 advisers.

Ben Lavender has been with Private Wealth Advisers for 2 years and has worked in the financial advice industry since 2005. He is the primary user of FE Analytics at the firm.

Easy usability

Ben began searching for new research software when Private Wealth Advisers began to outgrow the basic web-based platform they had been using. ‘It gave information in that we could look up basic quantitative data for each fund but that was where it stopped. We couldn’t manipulate any information and that just wasn’t really cutting the mustard’ explains Ben. Enter FE Analytics, which provided enhanced data visualization and analytical functionality without sacrificing ease of use or requiring on-site installation.

‘There’s nothing I’ve come across that’s not obvious’ says Ben of the navigation within the tool. In particular, he uses the ‘Active List Pro’ feature within the system to create a shortlist of funds, indices and other instruments, and finds it ‘a much cleaner way of building investments’ before going on to chart or analyse them.

Monitoring and optimising portfolios

As independent providers of bespoke portfolios, Private Wealth Advisers shoulder the full weight of research and analysis involved in selecting and weighting the investments they recommend, and find FE Analytics allows them to be ‘more scientific’ across the spectrum of tasks this involves.

When he needs to turn his attention to the broader market, Ben uses FE Analytics to track and monitor the list of ‘around 130 funds and other investments’ that Private Wealth Advisers recommend on a regular basis versus their peers, market indices and sector averages. He can also look at individual funds in closer detail in the system ‘as part of the due diligence process’ to help understand if they are suitable for inclusion in Private Wealth Advisers’ portfolios; ‘prior to going in we’ll do a bit of research with the tool, it might even give us an indication of whether we want to have a look further.’

Ben also employs FE Analytics when working on the fine detail of portfolio allocations. He uses the efficient frontier table within the system to help him in fine tuning the weightings he has selected, in order to ‘ultimately provide the best return for the lowest level of risk that we want for that particular asset class.’

Generating review packs

In order to generate custom reports that are unique to each client, Ben makes use of FE Analytics’ dynamic Excel link feature. It allows him to pull large amounts of data out of FE Analytics webpages and into a refreshable Excel spreadsheet, which can be reused month to month. ‘We literally just have to go in and hit ‘Refresh Data’, and all that information is just there,’ explains Ben. ‘We’ve figured out how to format it and the text that we like, so it just refreshes and we cut and paste it as a picture into a review document, it takes 30 seconds.’ This has meant that client review packs contain the latest available data regardless of how long after month end they are produced, with reports produced just after month end not suffering a lag.

Ben estimates that this feature alone saves him around 15 hours a month, and the result is review packs that are richer in evidence of the value of Private Wealth Advisers’ services; ‘we’re able to do the specific analysis on each individual portfolio when the review is due so we can be more accountable to ourselves and to our clients’ concludes Ben.

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