If you have read any of our briefings, you know that we have a blunt view of the financial services industry and how sophisticated investors can gain an edge in mitigating financial complexity and planning for their financial destinations. We have stated ad nauseam that there’s no longer a secret sauce when it comes to asset allocation or portfolio rebalancing. If computers can do it, why should investors overpay for it?
So how can investors gain an edge?
We’ve explicitly defined for our clients how SWS Partners is different, which was a good reminder internally as to how we can provide the most value for ultra-high net worth investors, endowments, foundations, et al. We continue to have very candid conversations about not only seeking to provide superior solutions, but we also create a network of savvy clients that bring their expertise, access, and connections to other clients. In other words, we have sought to create a “density of talented thinkers and makers”, which increases the potential for all of our clients to gain an edge.
The idea of savvy clients bringing their expertise, access, and connections to the table is an important one that merits further detail. In our experience, facilitating a network of specialists allows for faster, more specialized due diligence with best in class subject matter experts. When a subject matter expert brings a private deal to the table, the vetting process is more thorough than if a general analyst were to study the deal from scratch.
While this approach has gained traction with large family offices, our inspiration also stems from Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem. The inherent ingredients are access to great ideas, access to talent, access to capital, and access to customers, according to a recent Forbes article. We have spent a lot of time thinking about these elements, but we read this article and found ourselves realizing that we were replicating these very ideas, admittedly without realizing it at first. The difference for us, however, is less about startup density, as the article advocates for, and more about the density of entrepreneurs, trusted advisors, and institutional investors that compose our client base.
The idea of a client ecosystem means that private deal flow is never a concern. You can either bring an opportunity, vet an opportunity, or be an opportunity. The advantages of this approach extend to our entire client base who can then participate in attractive opportunities. Ultimately, we believe this type of access to private deals offers attractive risk and return benefits and diversification from traditional public markets. In addition to the ubiquitous financial services one has come to expect from their investment manager, we believe access to private deal flow allows sophisticated investors to gain the edge they’re looking for.