Trust Estate

EXCLUSIVE: Switzerland's Peritus Helping Trusts, Investors To Stay On Right Investment Track

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 6 January 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Switzerland's Peritus Helping Trusts, Investors To Stay On Right Investment Track

With regulatory and client pressures remaining intense, Switzerland-based Peritus is confident there will be plenty of demand for its services.

With fiduciary and regulatory demands becoming ever tougher on trustees, it is vital they have top-notch data at their fingertips to be sure money is being managed as effectively as possible.

In the European industry of tracking, analysing and interpreting investment performance, a player that operates solely in the private client space is Switzerland-based Peritus, with offices in Zurich and Geneva. Besides performance monitoring and investment guidance is the crucial area of the expert witness role, where the firm provides testimony for clients who need evidence in dealing with litigation that can happen around trusts.

These services are part of the infrastructure – not always fully appreciated – that makes the trusts industry tick. And it is perhaps fitting that Peritus is the lead sponsor for the STEP [Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners] Alpine Conference, to be held in Interlaken, Switzerland, on 19 and 20 January 2017. (To view a list of the speakers and other details about the event, click here.

“We help trustees fulfil their fiduciary role in terms of investments. Peritus has become one of their building blocks in the process. Performance monitoring is, nowadays, obligatory for trustees,” Chris Wadsworth, business development executive, told WealthBriefing in a recent interview.

Clients of Peritus include family offices, trusts and individuals, he said. 

“The primary thing we do is to increase the confidence that private clients have that their assets are being managed effectively,” said Wadsworth, who has worked in Switzerland for the past eight years, having held banking and investment roles at Citigroup and Fortis Investments over the last 20 years.

Peritus is not paid by asset managers; it uses unbiased data and has a team of analysts whose sole role is to conduct research into asset managers for clients. Such a business model deals with potential conflicts of interest that might endanger objective reporting, he said. 

The firm only operates from Switzerland, but serves clients around the world. “People working in this company are extremely international,” he said. The firm was founded by James Day, its managing director, in 2003. Prior to this, Day was involved in asset management at Morgan Stanley Quilter and ABN Amro, and created an investment consultancy platform for Ernst & Young.

The need and demand for objective data on investment performance is being shaped not just by regulation of areas such as suitability, but also by technology and clients’ increased ability to get their hands on facts and figures. In such a world, a trustee or other type of client will not be so easily fobbed off as in the past by scant or late data. 

There is now something of an industry of investment monitoring firms, such as Stamford Associates in the UK, or Investment By Objectives (also a Swiss firm) and Asset Risk Consultants. Peritus, Wadsworth says, is distinct in being focused entirely on private clients and by not providing any services to the investment industry that it monitors.

In supporting the STEP conference in January, Peritus no doubt hopes to drive home its status as a prominent player in the field. With regulatory and client pressures remaining intense, Wadsworth and his colleagues are no doubt confident there will be plenty of demand for their services in the years to come.

(Peritus Investment Consultancy is one of the firms shortlisted for the WealthBriefing Swiss Awards 2017.)

Register for WealthBriefing today

Gain access to regular and exclusive research on the global wealth management sector along with the opportunity to attend industry events such as exclusive invites to Breakfast Briefings and Summits in the major wealth management centres and industry leading awards programmes