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Author interview - Wealth Management Unwrapped by Charlotte Beyer

By Michael Finnigan

Charlotte B Beyer, founder of the Institute of Private Investors (IPI)*, a US-based membership organisation that offers wealth management education to ultra-high net worth individuals, has distilled four decades of experience assisting private investors into a new common-sense book.

One year in the making, Beyer says Wealth Management Unwrapped is the “unfinished business” that dogged her since leaving her role as chief executive at IPI in 2012.

“I had never thought about writing a book until I was giving a lecture at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a professor came up and said: 'Charlotte, you should write a book.' And, of course, I do what the teacher tells me.”

Each chapter begins with an anecdote from Beyer's career, working at the intersection between investors and money managers, which she says underlines some of the major oversights made by both these groups. Beyer speaks to CampdenFB about writing her first book.

Who do you want to read this book and why?
In the US there are more than four million millionaires. I wrote this book with that group in mind, but their concerns and worries are virtually identical across the globe. I don't think there has been a book written yet that addresses what you do before you hire an adviser, invest in a fund, or go to a bank and start a working relationship. 

What is the biggest mistake newly-wealthy investors – who you call the “CEO of My Wealth Inc” – make?
Not working out what they really want. That goes from understanding the purpose of their wealth to more specifically what they expect to see from a particular money manager. New CEOs of My Wealth Inc are also often handicapped by their own lack of knowledge in the securities market. But the main thing they need to recognise is the importance of delegation.

Has writing the book changed your approach to wealth management?
Yes, and I can boil my experience down to three points: first, wealth management is a business, where advisers need to serve both clients and the needs of their business. Second, investors need to be honest with their advisers. Third, the industry is still a teenager. No wealth management firm has more than a 5% market share and that tells me that the business development cycle needs to be rethought.

How do you see wealth management evolving in the next decade?
My forecast is that wealth management is going be driven by people. What I've spotted is that investors are drawn to people who are authentic and demonstrate a genuine interest in putting the clients' interests first. I don't know how the actual regulatory and industry landscape might change, but I think it will revolve around the individual.

What are you going to do now that you've finished your book?
I've been working with my own private foundation for women, Principle Quest. What I'm seeing is that daughters and matriarchs are starting to stand as peers with the men in the family, and that is very gratifying for me to see. So beside that I hope to be a public advocate for this mission to transform the relationship between investor and adviser.

Wealth Management Unwrapped is available on Amazon. The retail price is for the hardback is $35 and $24.95 for the eBook. 

 *IPI is owned by Campden Wealth, the publisher of CampdenFB

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