Growth stories

FOCUS ON SHEARMAN & STERLING - The ingredients for long‑lasting private client relationships

  • 24 June 2022

  • Private Wealth Solutions

Reading time: 4 minutes

Ardian counts an increasing number of Private Investors among its LPs. These clients receive a premium, personal service overseen by a dedicated relationship manager. Private clients and their advisers have direct access to people at all levels within Ardian, including the investment teams who manage their money, and can access consolidated information on their portfolios via Ardian’s Trustview investor portal. Read the interview with Cyrille Niedzielski, Family Office Advisor and Of Counsel at Shearman & Sterling and Erwan Paugam, Head of Private Wealth Solutions Ardian.

How does Ardian create close, personal relationships with its large private clients?

Erwan Paugam: The most important factor is that we think of our private clients as important members of the Ardian family. The key to the trust that grows up between us is that they develop personal relationships with people throughout our organization. We encourage them to speak directly to the people who manage the funds they invest in so that they are close to the investment process and understand how each business is performing. But there is more to the relationship than simply having access to the investment teams. Each of our investment teams sees these investors as important, long‑term relationships and they are personally committed to deliver an excellent service. Indeed, the fact that we offer our major private clients the opportunity to co‑invest alongside our funds shows how much we value having them as investors with Ardian.

Cyrille Niedzielski: Before investing, family offices and large private clients always want to meet the team who will be managing their money to hear about the investment strategy at first hand and to get a sense of the team as people. This adds a personal dimension to their professional relationship with Ardian, which clients find very valuable. In my experience, Ardian is very responsive to clients’ requests and keen to help them understand the investment strategy and how decisions are made. I have also found that, in comparison with other financial institutions, the people we have spoken to at Ardian are very good at explaining things in terms that non‑financial people can understand, which helps a lot to build trust and deepen the relationship.

Which aspects of Ardian’s approach to reporting do private clients particularly value?

CN: Many private clients don’t just want to give instructions. They are genuinely interested in the businesses they invest in and have often been in business themselves, so they want to follow their investments closely and receive detailed updates on their progress. Ardian’s relationship managers are always available to deal with our questions and ensure we receive any information the client wants, which is greatly appreciated. Another very important point is that clients value the fact that there are no surprises with Ardian. They are given plenty of warning about when capital calls will come and what the amounts will be, which helps them to plan. This aspect of Ardian’s service really matters to private clients.

EP: A central element of what we do for our Private Investors is bringing more transparency to their Private Investment portfolio. For this, we provide long‑term projections that allow investors to have a consolidated view of what the commitments cycle could look like. Another important part of our service is the Trustview Ardian portal, which gives them an overview of all their holdings with Ardian as a single portfolio that is regularly updated. Trustview is in no way a substitute for direct, human relationships. Instead, it is a complement to them. The high‑level overview that Trustview gives our clients is important because it helps us have a better dialogue about their asset allocation and advise them on solutions that could fit well with their existing portfolio.

What are the major benefits of private market investments for private clients?

EP: There are three in our opinion. Private investments are not marked to market daily. This allows everyone to concentrate on what is important for the long‑term success of each company and ignore the day‑to‑day background noise. Second, as private‑market managers, we invest the client’s money over a period of several years, so we have the luxury of waiting and deciding when to do so. Finally, we are in close contact with the management teams at each company and so we are actively involved in the key decisions. This means we can do more to affect the outcome of our investments especially in more volatile environments.

CN: Clients have often become unhappy with the traditional options they are offered in this low interest rate environment. The big attraction of private markets for them is a much better risk/reward profile and the chance to be closer to the teams managing their money.

For more stories like this, discover Ardian’s 2021 Annual Report