A relationship of trust
Stephen Ritchie, Senior Investment Manager, explains Cornelian’s robust measures to protect client information.
AT CORNELIAN, we seek to build long standing relationships of trust with each member of our valued client base. To do this, we recognise clients must be confident not only in the ability of the people they deal with and the investment process, but also the security of their assets. Concerning the latter, the primary consideration from a Private Client & Charities Team perspective as the client facing members of the organisation is how we mitigate the risk of fraudulent instructions.
In the digital world we live in, fraudulent activity in the financial industry is on the rise and as those responsible for the stewardship of our clients’ wealth, we must be ever more vigilant against this. Our personalised service is a natural defence, with each client receiving a dedicated primary investment manager and knowledgeable secondary manager who are both visible and accountable. Through initial meetings, we formally record personal information and investment requirements before official client ‘take-on’. In short, we seek to know our client well from the outset and then to grow this understanding as the relationship develops through regular contact and meetings.
To complement the personalised service we deliver and to ensure we adhere to strict controls both our Private Client & Charities Team and our Administration Team have detailed security procedures relating to the collection of client information, identity verification and the validation of client instructions. So what should a client expect when they contact their investment manager to change their details or to request funds from their portfolio?
...we seek to know our client well from the outset and then to grow this understanding as the relationship develops through regular contact and meetings.
Any change of client information such as contact details, a change of professional adviser, the treatment of income or a change of bank details must be instructed in writing on our pro forma (which a client can request from their investment manager), even if they discussed the change at a face to face meeting. Our Administration Team will then perform secondary checks against client records before implementing any change.
In terms of releasing funds on an ad-hoc basis, we never do so from a client portfolio to a bank account that we do not already have recorded in the client’s personal information, even if it is in the name of the client. Funds can only be sent to the personal bank account that the client has specified in writing with a ‘wet ink’ signature, so if there is an intention to forward funds on to another party, the client should allow plenty of time to do so. We can release payments to third party bank accounts, but only to those of professional advisers that the client has appointed in writing, or for paying tax bills to HMRC on behalf of Trusts.
Furthermore, we do not release funds simply on one instruction received via email or telephone. In addition to our strict rules around remittances outlined above, we run a dual confirmation system, whereby if an instruction is received over the phone, we will then confirm the instruction to the client’s recorded email address, and vice versa. Only when this secondary confirmation is received will we release funds to the client’s designated bank account. Clients should be aware that we will not act on an instruction if it has been received from an email address that we do not have recorded on file, in this instance we would use another method to contact the client and verify the instruction.
On occasion, both the client’s primary and secondary investment managers may be out of the office when an instruction is received. Another member of the Private Client & Charities Team will attend to the client’s instruction in this instance and they will seek to confirm some personal details and details regarding the client’s investment in order to verify their identity, in addition to applying the dual confirmation system. We realise this can feel impersonal but we hope our clients also understand the need for this additional layer of checking.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of measures we take, but we hope it conveys the importance we place on the security of our clients’ assets, which is paramount to the way we operate.
Senior Investment Manager