Dolfin - Best International Clients Team
One of the fastest growing wealth management platforms, Dolfin, was founded in 2013 as a boutique multi-family office and its subsequent growth has come organically as clients have requested a wider range of services.
Dolfin now has client assets of over USD2 billion and, once the February purchase of the business of Falcon Private Bank’s UK subsidiary has been finalised in May, is expecting to grow by a third again.
Technological strength has been crucial. Nick McCall (pictured), head of wealth management at Dolfin says: “What makes us stand out from the crowd is the modern sophisticated technology platform which underpins the wealth offering. Plus, the combination of being a custodian and wealth manager in house so we control the whole client experience from on boarding through to assessing the clients’ needs, to delivering what they need in terms of their investment needs holistically, bringing in specialists when they need additional services.”
The Dolfin business is primarily international, embedded within the firm’s DNA is its international strength, including the ability to speak a huge number of languages across the team.
“We have a very cosmopolitan staff that are able to address the needs of the client not just financially, but for example if they are ordering a payment, they can contact the office and get it sorted in their own language.”
McCall describes it as the traditional international private banking service but with a difference in that the technology that underpins their service offering is very modern.
The client base is drawn largely from the emerging markets, with the big block coming from Russia and CIS or eastern European countries, a large China desk, and then middle east, and east and west Africa and Eurasia.
The dedicated China desk is unusual in its size and breadth of what services it can offer, hands on in a client’s native language.
Business tends to come in by referrals from intermediaries and the firm also benefits from having a Malta booking platform for clients who prefer not to have a UK link with their accounts.
McCall says: “This replicates our UK capabilities in the Maltese jurisdiction.”
Another aspiration is to build out a Latin America franchise and Dolfin has recently hosted an event focussed on the Dominican Republic.
Describing a different part of Dolfin’s business, McCall explains that it was in 2016/17 when the firm spotted another opportunity for growth.
“Building a strong wealth management business from scratch is tough. We know, we’ve done it. You need the right regulatory permissions, infrastructure, technology and counterparty relationships. We knew there are plenty of small to medium-sized financial advisers out there who would benefit from sharing our infrastructure. That’s how we became a platform for other wealth managers, multi-family offices, boutique private banks and external assets managers.”
While technology underpins everything Dolfin does, the firm is keen to make it clear that robo-advice and human expertise are distinctly different.
Dolfin’s CEO Denis Nagy describes what the firm does as bionic wealth management, with technology enhancing human interaction. The two must work in tandem if wealth managers are not to be left behind, Nagy says.
“In this day and age our clients still very much value human interaction,” McCall says.