Fortigent’s annual Winter Forum conference kicked off in a blaze of optimism last night in Beverly Hills.
“Everybody is feeling better,” said Scott Welch, senior managing director for Fortigent, the Rockville, Md.-based outsourced wealth management platform provider whose 90 client firms have about $45 billion in assets under management. “Wealth managers are looking to make capital decisions to grow their businesses as opposed to preserving capital to save their business. And everybody says they’re seeing organic growth.”
The conference’s record 175 attendees, up from 125 last year, underscored the point, Welch contended. “People are learning forward again,” he said. “They’re getting out of the office because they want to learn how to grow their business.”
In fact, Barry Glassman, president of McLean, Va.-based Glassman Wealth Services, said he is “actively looking” to add three staffers to his six person team this year. “People are more confident,” said Glassman, whose firm has $400 million in assets under management. “The systemic issues are behind us, and now people feel like they need advice on what to do next.”
Last month’s new tax and estate laws have also spurred client activity, said Steve Braverman, co-founder and managing director of New York and Atlanta-based Pathstone Family Office, which has $1.3 billion in assets under management.
“Clarification of those tax and estate issues really helped,” Braverman said. “Now people are ready to take action and they want thoughtful advice on what action to take.”
Chief investment officers expect to increase their allocation to equities and alternatives and decrease allocation to fixed income, according to a straw poll of one dozen CIOs at Fortigent’s investment roundtable, Welch said.
And while the CIOs still plan to heavily use fund-of-funds, Welch said they also expressed interest in using more single-strategy fund managers this year.Fortigent, LLC provides wealth management solutions and consulting services to independent advisors, banks and trust companies, and break-away brokers who require a comprehensive outsourcing solution to meet the demands of their high-net-worth clients. For over ten years Fortigent has worked with high-net-worth investors and their advisors and focuses on solving the issues and complexities arising from this very demanding client base.