With a conscious focus on providing high touch service for high net worth individuals, Pitcher Partners Sydney’s Wealth Management practice has built an award-winning financial advisory business with enduring private client relationships.

Charlie Viola has always loved working closely with his clients. When he joined Pitcher Partners’ fledgling wealth management practice in Sydney in 2003, he saw it as a blank slate – an opportunity to build a financial advisory practice that put client goals first.

“I always wanted to be a trusted adviser, to create bespoke solutions. By getting to know exactly what makes clients tick, we can apply our expertise in a way that relates purely to them.”

Over the past four years, Pitcher Partners has structured its offering around the clients it knows will value a high touch approach most: high (and ultra-high) net worth investors. It’s a conscious decision that allows the firm to do what it does exceptionally well.

“We have around 400 private clients with about $2.7billion in assets under management in our Sydney office” Viola explains. “While ongoing investment management is the major focus, we see every financial consideration as part of the scope of our advice – from moving house and estate planning to providing loans to children or grandchildren.”

These clients value a well-structured passive income stream through to retirement, as well as knowing they’re getting the right, risk-adjusted returns. “They are certainly more educated on their options, but sometimes they are surprised by how active we are in communicating with them” says Viola. He enjoys the intellectual stimulation of these investment conversations. By understanding clients’ perspectives and preferences, he can clearly explain how every asset will help them meet their longer-term needs.

“I don’t think what we do is hugely innovative” he adds. “It’s simply ensuring we apply all our knowledge to them personally, and relate it to their own goals.”

Staying close has become even more important in recent months. “There have been some ‘real’ conversations lately, given the impact of COVID-19. We are dealing with life savings, so clients are naturally concerned” acknowledges Viola. He says “being human” is very important – the more the client knows you care, the easier it is to have hard conversations.

In this time, the best value you can provide is being available and accessible

The other secret ingredient to Pitcher Partners’ approach? Full visibility of every account, which allows Viola and his colleagues to help clients make informed decisions.

“Macquarie’s Cash Management Account (CMA) is the cornerstone of our business” Viola says. “Every client has one. It’s the hub account for every client portfolio.”

He says features like bulk transacting authority and third party authority are, “a godsend for us when trying to move quickly – especially in this recent environment with so much corporate activity.” Macquarie worked with Pitcher Partners to build in data feeds and connect the CMA to its client management systems. “Its ability to talk to our systems effectively gives us real reporting efficiency and visibility.”

Viola also opens a Macquarie Cash Management Accelerator Account for every client.

“We were using term deposits, but we’ve replaced those with the Accelerator because it’s more liquid” he explains. “We want to get a good return on our clients’ cash, but still have at-call access – and now we can do that with an account that also talks to our systems. It’s perfect.”

Most of their funds under management would be considered somewhat conservative, with an emphasis on asset quality and key competitive advantages. But Viola says they also spend a lot of time seeking out alternatives and specialist assets to, “generate some alpha” – higher returns through private debt, private equity and property syndicates. Every investment decision centres on understanding each client’s needs and goals.

“In this time, the best value you can provide is being available and accessible” Viola says. And just as Viola works hard to understand his client’s world, he says Macquarie also understands his.

“They simply have the best solution from a cash perspective. We have looked at other accounts, but no one else has the connectivity, adviser access, or purpose-built advisory infrastructure that Macquarie does.”

Learn more

Learn more about the features of Macquarie’s CMA and the Macquarie Accelerator account.

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