Interview with the CEO Nigel Green
March 10, 2016
Congratulations on winning International Finance Magazine’s ‘Best International Advisory Company – EAST ASIA’ award.
Thank you. It’s an honour to receive it. This award – our seventh in as many months – is a reflection of the unbridled energy and commitment of our deVere Group teams in Hong Kong, China (Shanghai), Japan (Tokyo) and throughout the East Asia Region. The award showcases the dedication to providing our clients with a result-focused service.
|Tell us more about deVere’s operations within East Asia.
East Asia is a very important market for us for three important reasons.
First, this region is where you’ll find some of the world’s biggest and most influential financial hubs, including Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. Clearly, as one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations, we need to have a presence in these territories.
Second, these dynamic, global financial centrzes are home to and are constantly attracting more expatriates and international investors. We’re widely recognised as the leading cross-border financial specialists and the vast majority of our 80,000-plus clients fit into these two groups.
|Nigel Green, CEO, deVere Group|
Third, there is an enormous growth potential for the financial advisory companies across East Asia. There are, for instance, cities in China that are amongst some of the most highly-populated in the world. So, there’s a huge demand for financial advice, yet most international firms don’t yet have a presence outside the main capitals. Plus, as the population of East Asia becomes more affluent and as the middle class grows, the opportunity for businesses like ours to grow is massive.
Does this mean that you have plans to expand across East Asia?
Yes, demand for our specialist advice is increasing within all the areas in which we currently operate [Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo] and also outside these cities too, in places such as South Korea. As such we plan to meet this soaring client-driven demand with a careful, controlled, strategic growth across this region and on a more global level too.
What sets deVere apart from other firms within the international financial industry?
There are several key distinguishing factors. First is our truly global presence. We currently do business in more than 100 countries. If you’re an expat or an international investor, you are, typically, more likely to have a transient lifestyle. Indeed, 25 per cent of all expats move to a different city or country each year.
These people need and expect a continuity of service and advice. As we have a global network of 71 offices, located in most of the major expat destinations, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Geneva, New York, London, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Doha and Sydney, deVere is uniquely placed to take care of them wherever they are now and wherever they’re likely to be in the future.
Second is our well-established alliances with the world’s most respected financial institutions. This means we have an unrivalled suite of products, many of which are exclusive to deVere clients, to help them achieve their long-term financial goals.
And third, we are always looking at ways to stay ahead and innovate for our clients. It’s in our DNA.
What is your ambition for deVere?
I’ve said before that I would like deVere to be the British equivalent of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
That’s a big ambition. How will you achieve this?
By remaining true to our core strategy: to continue to put our clients at the heart of everything we do.
What will the next five years hold for the international financial services industry?
The international financial services industry is going to be defined by its unprecedented growth over the next five years. Ongoing and increasing client demand will be the key driver of the sector’s expansion. As people and companies become ever more globalised, the need for professional cross-border financial advice is set to skyrocket.
Other important factors that will help shape the next half decade will be a growing reliance on technology and social media in how we interact and communicate with clients.
What will be the major challenges for the sector?
Challenges include shifting regulatory landscapes and developing client expectations. That said, we embrace challenges as they force you to grow, to evolve and become even better.
What about challenges for your clients for this year and beyond?
As has been much-publicised of late, the markets are currently volatile. But investors should be using this to their financial advantage.
There are two key reasons why they should be building up their portfolios now, in these more volatile times, in order to grow their wealth.
The first point is regarding the long-term benefits. No one can accurately predict when the markets will finally reach the bottom – it could be a month, it could be six months, who knows. But what we do know is that over the longer term, the performance of stock markets is fairly predictable: they go up. Indeed, for this reason, over a longer time horizon, investing in equities is almost universally recognised as one of the best ways people can accumulate wealth.
By not topping up and diversifying portfolios now, investors are pushing back the longer-term benefits they could be starting to reap. Why forsake the long-term gains that would be generated on money invested now?
The second, the buying opportunities. The see-sawing markets are a chance for investors to put new money into markets at lower prices. A slump in the market means that there are high quality equities available at more attractive prices.
Of course, no one knows for sure what will happen in the immediate future but, as stock markets typically rise over a longer-term period, now is the time to capitalise on the more favourable prices of decent stocks.
What’s next for deVere Group?
I recently joked whilst being interviewed at the London Stock Exchange that we want world domination. But I was only HALF joking!