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SEI looks to expand US consultancy business to UK advisers

SEI Investments&#39 new head of wealth relations Chris Hylen says the multi-manager is to undergo a major repositioning which will see it branch out into bespoke business consultancy.

Hylen was until recently director of communications for SEI&#39s US adviser network, where he helped build around 5,000 outsource partnerships with US advisory firms.

But after the group&#39s successful foray into business consultancy, he has come to the UK to see if there is a market for the type of extensive tailored solutions SEI has been offering US firms for two years.

He says: “We had an internal business assessment and found 80 per cent of revenue was coming from 20 per cent of clients although all were getting the same level of service. We went back to the 20 per cent and asked if they wanted a full business assessment because if they grow twice as fast, we grow twice as fast.”

The business solutions it offers change from firm to firm but the questions – and the answers – remain largely the same. US advisers want more time, more money and a better quality of life. Hylen expects UK advisers to be similar but says he is not assuming their needs will be exactly the same.

He says: “It is like a great cook starting a restaurant but then finding 90 per cent of their time is business-related, dealing with accounts, advertising and so on. We can tailor action plans for them but the last thing we want is to put a square peg in a round hole.”

The solutions it has come up with in the US range from lead generation to helping firms find merger partners. If an adviser wants to see more higher-net-worth clients, Hylen says SEI will endeavour to meet this need and any other that he or she might have.

Before the consultancy business is rolled out, Hylen will meet SEI&#39s existing outsource partners to compare their experiences with their US counterparts. Only then he will seek the kind of firms he says SEI is interested in doing business with, having garnered information about the needs of advisers in a less-developed market.

“Manager of manager is strong but this next level is how we want to expand our brand in the UK. There does not seem to be anyone moving in the same direction. This is not for everyone, we need individuals who are committed to being a top-level firm.”

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