Piercefield Oliver was formed in April 2014, after the merger of two businesses. It has a heavy focus on holistic financial planning, and differs from many in this list as it does not pick investments, but outsources to management firms.
Founding partner Louise Oliver, alongside partner Stephen Willis, says they add value to clients through focusing on their lifelong objectives, their fears and ambitions and work with them throughout big changes like divorce and inheritance, leaving the picking of ETFs and active funds to Seven Investment Management (7IM).
"It can be a very long process, gathering client information, seeing whether we are a good fit and can we work together as a team, finding out about their family," she said. "We do a family tree and we assess their bucket list: What do they want to achieve and what's stopping them from doing it?"
The firm assesses the information at least once a year with the client.
"Most clients are happy for a steady carry-on with 5-6% returns per year. They want to know how that will impact their lives. Of the time we spend with them in review, it will be 80% planning and 20% investment," said Oliver.
The next step is risk profiling, provided by FinaMetrica, to match the client with a model portfolio. After looking at tax wrappers like ISAs and unit trusts, it is only then that Oliver gets to the investment solution. She uses 7IM's platform for clients of up to £1 million, and the provider's discretionary service for portfolios of a higher worth. Piercefield Oliver charges a tapered fee of 1% ad valorem for portfolios up to £1 million and 0.5% thereafter.
"We see ourselves as the gatekeepers for the investment solutions. We don't hang our hat on actives or passives; we blend the two," said Oliver.
Oliver in particular noted 7IM's so-called smart passive approach, which does not track an index by market capitalisation but might equally weight securities instead.
"Smart passives are evident across all of our portfolios, which reduces overall risk," she said. "We say to clients: 'Remember the crash not so long ago; if you had had a market cap-weighted tracker it would have been concentrated in financials.'"