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Finance Controller Appointment at Enhance Group

Enhance Group Limited (Enhance) are delighted to welcome Fergus Gibson as Financial Controller.

Fergus, who will take responsibility for all aspects of the Group’s finances, joins Enhance from a global intermodal container leasing and finance company where he was the Finance Director.
Fergus started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He worked in the financial services environment for more than 15 years spanning a range of sectors: Audit & Business Advisory Services, Banking, Container Leasing and Asset Management. Prior to that, he worked for BlackRock in London as a Business Partner supporting the firm’s Global Retail Business with their expanding onshore and cross-border Retail fund ranges. Fergus is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant.

Tom Wiseman, Group CEO, commented:

“I am delighted to welcome Fergus to the company. His experience is of great value to our organisation and he joins our team of talented people who will lead the company forward”.

New Head of Investment Consultancy at Enhance Group

Enhance Group Limited have appointed Dr Ruzhen Li as Head of their Investment Consultancy offering.

Dr Li, who is based in London and previously held the position of Head of Research has been with the company for 3 years.

Before joining Enhance, Ruzhen was one of the founding members of investment advisory firm LJ Athene Advisory Ltd, a company that was established after a Management Buyout of Deloitte Private Client Services Limited, where she started her career, completed her CFP and then became a CFA Charter Holder.

Ruzhen completed two first class engineering degrees simultaneously in Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and was subsequently invited to pursue a PhD in Computer Modelling in Biochemistry with Queen Mary University of London on scholarship from the Government (ORS) and the University itself.

In her position as Head of Investment Consultancy at Enhance, Ruzhen will continue to actively advise on international families who require tailored outsourced investment solutions.

Enhance Investment Consultancy (EIC) is a truly independent consultancy business, servicing global families who wish to have a team of highly qualified investment professionals on side as trusted advisors to source the best solution providers for their needs. EIC works closely with fellow professional advisors such as lawyers, accountants, trustees and tax advisors to make sure the investment solutions are consistent with other needs of the family.

Dr Ruzhen Li, commented,


“I am delighted to be taking on the position of Head of Investment Consultancy. I am very grateful that I have been given the freedom to build the consultancy business based on independence, research and service, supported by a very comprehensive reporting platform which the firm has built over the past decade. We’ve seen a great demand for our services both in London and abroad and I am very much looking forward to keeping the momentum and growing our client base”.

Tom Wiseman CEO of Enhance Group, commented:

“Ruzhen is a massive asset to our team and we are thrilled that she has taken on this new role. Having someone of Ruzhen’s calibre, with her extensive industry experience, qualifications and connections heading up our Investment Consultancy offering in London I am confident we will continue to develop our bespoke services whilst ensuring the absolute highest level of consultancy services”.


Enhance Group – Performance Analyst for Portfolio Adviser Wealth Manager Awards 2018

Entries are now open for the Portfolio Adviser Wealth Manager Awards 2018 and Enhance Group are delighted to be the provider of performance analysis for the 6th year running.

Wealth Managers, both boutique and large, who provide investment selection and asset allocation for their clients will have the opportunity to be recognised for brilliance in their field. Entrants will be judged on the results they have achieved based on both qualitative and quantitative data with the hope of being awarded a gold or platinum award for the following categories:

  • Cautious
  • Balanced
  • Aggressive
  • Absolute Return

Wealth Managers can also enter the Media Marketing Award for the company which has shown a level of excellence in their online brand awareness as well as their use of social media.

The independent judging panel is made up of a number of representatives from top organisations in the fields of law, finance, accountancy, consultancy and trust who have experience of working with Wealth Managers themselves.

Paul Tanguy, Investment Analyst at Enhance Group commented:

“Being involved in the Portfolio Adviser Wealth Manager Awards for the last 6 years, we have seen the number of entrants more than double, which not only demonstrates the prestige of these awards within the industry but also reinforces their credibility. Each year we have been able to refine and streamline the analysis process in order to ensure that the judges have fair and robust information to work with when judging such a competitive marketplace.  We’re proud to be supporting the awards again and wish all of the entrants this year the very best of luck.”

The Deadline for entries is Friday 15th September. For more details on how to enter please click here


Enhance Provides Data Analysis for the STEP Private Client Awards

STEPPCA Graphic Image 3Enhance are delighted to be once again providing data analysis for the STEP Annual Private Client Awards (‘Investment Team of the Year’ category). This is the 7th year that Enhance have been involved with the awards, using their proprietary fintech software to analyse the risk and return performance of the applicants over certain time periods.

The awards are open globally to both STEP members and non-members and are designed to celebrate excellence among private client solicitors, lawyers, accountants, barristers, bankers, trust managers and financial advisors.

The Enhance analysis process not only provides the judges with a robust and consistent risk adjusted appraisal across all of the service providers, it is also designed to be efficient for the service providers themselves to submit the requisite data.

To enable this data driven approach, if your firm is submitting applications for the Investment Team of the Year Award, you are asked to provide judges with:

  • Define the investment strategy;
  • Define the appropriate benchmark;
  •  Forward a sample portfolio valuation in electronic format that reflects the relevant strategy and;
  • Download and complete the template with 36 months’ worth of performance data along with asset & currency allocation for each of the last 4 quarter-ends for a representative portfolio which aligns to the relevant strategy.

To complete the performance and risk part of the application, you will also need to explain any successful asset allocation changes or recommendations made for clients over the last year and the effect this has had on performance.

The data is then used (with strict confidentiality) to provide the judges with clear analysis. Importantly, Enhances’ software not only crunches the numbers, it presents the results in a meaningful way. Visuals, referred to as “heat maps” are used as part of a detailed report allowing for easy comparison and ensuring managers’ performances are presented on a common platform so the judges are truly comparing like-for-like.

Justin Simpson of Enhance Group, comments:

‘In this challenging category, with many fine service providers, the analysis we provide will give the STEP judges a clear output to assist in their decision making process, reflecting the importance of both harnessing powerful software and fintech within the industry as well as partnering with the right investment management firm. We wish everyone the best of luck with their submissions.’

The cut-off date for submissions is the 28th April 2017 and the awards ceremony will be help on 6th September 2017 at the Westminster Park Plaza in London.

6 New Jurisdictions in 18 Months: Opening up the FX Markets with Enhancefx

Author: Kevin Moore, Head of Treasury, Enhance Jersey


With fintech continuing to shape the global financial landscape, firms and individuals alike have a whole new range of tools at their disposal to get better results at lower prices. Technology has opened up incredibly powerful services to smaller businesses, and we are seeing more and more wealth managers turning to fintech firms to help them carry out their fiduciary responsibilities in a way that’s more transparent and cost-effective for their clients.

Having worked in the trust and fiduciary industry for over ten years, Enhance saw the challenges companies working in the fiduciary sector were facing and the benefits that could be gained through the use of platform technology. An area where we are clearly seeing the positives of fintech’s role to supplement and complement financial services is where professional trustees undertake foreign exchange transactions. Here technology has brought transparency to what was previously quite an unclear market, driving down prices for clients in the process.

Before the advent of fintech a market intermediary requiring FX, such as a trustee, would turn to the bank holding the account of the entity they were administering to get a quote and execute the trade. While the trustee might have shopped around to see if they could get preferential terms elsewhere, they still didn’t have access to the data which would let them assess the reasonableness of any of those rates in the first place.

This led Enhance to partner with a leading fintech company in 2014 to form a new, first-of-its-kind service platform in Jersey, Enhancefx. Whilst transparency and competitive exchange rates were available from a number of platforms we wanted to look beyond these issues and create a platform that addressed the other common challenges, including a lack of flexibility and management tools, the costs of additional setups, the lack of a central point of contact and communications to track the status of payments, alongside restrictive reporting capabilities and the lack of an offshore banking facility.

For anybody managing wealth in a fiduciary capacity, transparency for clients and having a trusted adviser whose expertise you can rely on are central. By providing an holistic, integrated FX platform Enhancefx now provides trustees with complete management control over currency and multiple payments, reducing the time and cost of making transfers, alongside a clear audit trail, and a single point of contact should they have any questions.

By addressing foreign exchange transparency and providing control over the payment flow Enhancefx has addressed significant issues for the fiduciary sector. This has clearly tapped on a nerve which has reverberated globally, with the platform opening up across 6 new jurisdictions since its foundation 18 months ago.

Spotting such openings in the market and finding ways to automate processes and maximise the use of data is at the heart of successful fintech solutions. These developments are radically shifting the profitability of the market in favour of clients, presenting challenges and opportunities alike for the whole financial sector.

STEP and Enhance’s Partnership for the Annual Private Client Awards

Author: Barry Hardisty, Managing Director, Enhance Jersey 

Barry Hardisty

Enhance has been involved with STEP’s annual Private Client Awards for 6 years now, providing the judges with data analysis to give a clear picture of what firms submitting applications for ‘Investment Team of the Year’ have achieved over the last 12 months.

Using proprietary fintech software, the analysis reviews investment performance and risk over various time periods to confirm that investors have received good results.

To enable this data driven approach, if your firm is submitting applications for the Investment Team of the Year Award, you are asked to provide judges with:

  • your main or flagship strategy
  • a definition of your investment strategy and the appropriate benchmark
  • a sample portfolio valuation that reflects the relevant strategy
  • 36 months’ worth of performance data
  • asset and currency allocation for each of the last 4 quarter-ends for a representative portfolio which aligns to the relevant strategy

To complete the performance and risk part of the application, you will also need to explain any successful asset allocation changes or recommendations made for clients over the last year and the effect this has had on performance.

We then use your data (with strict confidentiality!) to provide the judges with clear analysis. Importantly, our software not only crunches the numbers, it presents the results in a meaningful way. We pull out visuals as part of a detailed report using “heat maps”, allowing for easy comparison and ensuring managers’ performances are presented on a common platform so the judges are truly comparing like-for-like.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 14.41.43


The data we provide enables the STEP judges to interpret performance and risk more clearly, and ensures their decision-making process is robust – but it’s important to highlight that our data presentation works alongside the judges’ expertise, not as a replacement.

For all of us working in an advisory capacity, technology plays an important role in making processes clearer, and automatic where possible, and in transforming data into something dynamic that can inform and refine strategies. By harnessing powerful software, we are providing a better service to clients, always aware however that building up trusted partnerships is indispensable in our line of work. The judging process of the STEP Private Client Awards reflects the importance of this synergy.

We wish everyone the best of luck with their submissions.


Fintech and the Changing Profitability of Financial Services

Author: James Painter, CEO


Last October, Jersey held its first fintech conference which was a fantastic opportunity for all of us working in financial services to discuss how technology is impacting and steering the direction of our industry. I was also grateful for the chance to offer my own insights at the conference about the way fintech is changing the profitability of financial services, and as we go into 2016, I would like to share my reflections on the continued role fintech will play in our sector.

Firstly, fintech has been around for a long time – and we do need to take a measured approach when considering its implications for established financial services providers. So far in Jersey, fintech doesn’t seem to have made a material impact on the profitability profile of our financial services sector. However, there are some key developments that we need to be aware of.

As the implications of fintech for our sector are diverse, I want to focus on two key areas; the role of the Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), and the way in which foreign exchange is transacted.

Fintech and the role of the Independent Financial Adviser

Following recent legislation, we have seen a total overhaul in the IFA sector’s working practices in the UK and the Channel Islands. Each jurisdiction had its own variants of legislation, but the core concept was to stop IFAs being paid commissions from the service providers that they recommended their clients invest with.

Before this change in legislation, an investor would approach an IFA looking for advice. The fees for their services accumulated rapidly, looking something like:

  • IFA advice fee 0.50%
  • Life Wrapper Fee 2.25%
  • Underlying Fund / Portfolio Managers 1.50%
  • Total Fee just over 4%

While 10 years ago, when interest rates averaged around 5%, it was still possible for an investor to make a small return after paying such fees, in today’s low interest rate environment, investors will be left with very little return if pursuing such a model.

This has been mitigated to a degree by the advent of RDR, RFA and GFAS, which remove hidden commissions, but there is still the issue of fees diminishing return. This is where fintech has stepped in. An example of an alternative fintech solution is Nutmeg, an online business offering low cost portfolio management solutions. Such platforms reduce fees by taking out the middle person, enabling the same underlying investment but at a far lower fee.

As I’ve explored in a previous blog however, these disintermediating platforms aren’t a panacea; while technology can effectively risk profile an investor and come up with an appropriate profile solution, it can’t offer emotional support in testing market conditions. When stock markets are falling sharply, an IFA offers a reasoned ear, assuring clients that corrections are short-lived and markets will soon recover. Without this there is a significant danger that investors will see news headlines, go online and press the “sell” button at the worst possible time, needlessly crystallising a loss.

While fintech can be disruptive in these circumstances, it’s best used as a tool within the traditional IFA model rather than as an outright solution – combining the data-driven approach that fintech enables with the personal expertise that an IFA brings to the table.

Foreign Exchange (FX)

 Now let’s consider an instance where technology is benefitting intermediaries and creating a re-positioning of profitability between different financial services sectors.

Foreign exchange was traditionally the exclusive domain of the banks. I believe the reason that banks have been able to make such large profits in this area is because there’s a great deal of confusion among investors about how these markets work. An unfortunate consequence of this confusion is that certain market participants are able to quote prices that are very costly to their clients.

A good example of this is the blatantly extortionate rates at airports, where foreign exchange providers reassuringly state “No Commission”, while offering rates at a 15% spread away from the market price. What’s the difference between a commission and a spread? Absolutely nothing! Both represent a loss for the client and a profit for the FX provider.

So where and how is this issue being addressed? Previously a market intermediary, such as a trustee requiring an FX, would simply place the trade with the bank where the entity they were administering held its bank account, and the bank would quote a rate and execute the trade.

The trustee may have felt it prudent to check the rate to seek preferential terms elsewhere, providing some sense of perspective, but this didn’t provide any guidance as to whether the rate was appropriate in the first place.

This has been a major issue for financial intermediaries, as they quite often had no access to live market data. The charge they were suffering through the market ‘spread’ was entirely down to the decision of the trader on the other end of the phone.

This arbitrary situation is untenable for clients – and innovative web platforms such as our own, Enhancefx, have provided an alternative way forwards. Through these platforms, intermediaries now have the mechanism to source live market prices on a website that allows them to deal directly with the market – at the true market price.

The growing popularity of online platforms to conduct foreign exchange will make price transparency the new normal, and the only accepted way to win FX business. This is an example of fintech improving historical methodologies by providing transparency of profits earned and a far better rate for the person requiring the trade. A further benefit is that these platforms provide financial intermediaries with the opportunity to undertake the FX trade themselves, benefiting from a service fee that is both transparent and disclosed to the underlying client. This will shift the profitability of conducting FX from the banks to the currently less profitable sectors.

Jersey mustn’t make the mistake of getting carried away with the more extreme proclamations being made about fintech, instead we need to approach it as a new cornerstone on which to reposition our offering. The bigger picture is really about promoting a holistic culture of innovation within our finance industry and recognising that innovation isn’t always high-tech; it’s about designing better work processes and creating new business models that will deliver high growth, more enriching jobs and, ultimately, better services for our customers.

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