Here is a selection of books on finance and wealth management that may be of interest to readers.
Over the course of the year your correspondent and colleagues are sent books about, or potentially relevant to, the global wealth management industry. Here is a sample of those that caught the eye.
The Destructive Power Of Family Wealth: A Guide To Succession Planning, Asset Protection, Taxation and Wealth Management. Philip Marcovici. Well known to many readers of this news service and its sister publications, Marcovici has advised financial organisations, multinationals and families on the domestic and international aspects of Canadian, Hong Kong and US tax. A member of the editorial advisory board of WealthBriefing and a valued source of views, he teaches widely and is part of the faculty of Singapore Management University.
His book, which runs to 271 pages, addresses head-on the question of how your wealth can avoid becoming a destructive force for a family. It examines the psychology of wealth and the effect it has on different family members. For example, it discusses how to avoid family strife, protect assets from events such as political turmoil and divorce, global regulatory changes and looks at the tools that can be used to protect wealth. (Wiley.)
Fintech Innovation: From Robo-Advisors to Goal Based Investing and Gamification. By Paolo Sironi. Sironi, who is a global thought leader for wealth management and investment analytics at IBM, casts his eye on the burgeoning world of financial technology, whether the subject is the robo advisor, artificial intelligence, the use of “gaming” approaches to help clients understand investments and their own risk tolerances, across to how fintechs are disrupting the conventional wealth management players. Sironi crams in a great deal into the 157 pages of the book. It includes an extensive bibliography for further reading. The book struck the author as an excellent primer on the fintech landscape and made sense of some of the mind-bending jargon in this space. (Wiley.)
Engaged Ownership: A Guide For Owners of Family Businesses. By Amelia Renkert-Thomas. The author founded the Withers Consulting Group, an international family-business consultancy and is the former president of Ironrock Inc, her family’s fifth generation manufacturing business and is the grand-daughter of the founder of Fisher Price Toys. With Baby Boomers transferring ownership of privately held firms to their offspring, this book, running to 200 pages, is most timely. (Wiley.)
The Essential Advisor: Building Value In The Investor-Advisor Relationship. By Bill Crager and Jay Hummel. Crager is president and co-founder of Chicago-headquartered Envestnet, a 16-year-old firm. Hummel is managing director, strategic initiatives and thought leadership, at the same firm. As the introduction to the book says, “There is a growing gap in the investing industry that has left advisors increasingly confused about what clients want and clients equally confused about what advisory firms can do for them.” The 204-page book aims to close that gap. (Wiley.)
Family Capital: Working with Wealthy Families to Manage Their Money Across Generations. By Gregory Curtis. Curtis is chairman and founder of Greycourt & Co, a wealth advisory firm working with families and endowments.
Curtis decides to create an entire case study, using a real family under the fictional name of the Titan family, chronicling its rise to riches, and the subsequent struggles and reverses, and then the story of how the family descendants hired advisors, took investment and estate planning decisions, and how well or poorly their achieved their objectives. The 326-page book isn’t a fast read, but the real dialogue that is relayed (with some edits), gives the journey of the Titans an immediacy and freshness that is unusual in the sometimes dry world of investment books. Curtis makes the issues really come alive across 11 chapters. In chapter 1, for example, the Titan family is introduced (it is founded by a poor Italian immigrant); we then move to the mid-1970s and the terrible stock bear market of the time, and then fast-forward to 2005 and the actions of the fifth-generation Titans. The search for an advisor is described; the challenge of creating an investment policy statement is set out, and the various twists and turns of the process – including issues around education and performance reporting – are described without ever getting mired in jargon. (Wiley.)
Signals: How Everyday Signs Can Help Us Navigate the World's Turbulent Economy. By Dr Pippa Malmgren. Her 334-page book takes the reader through many of the controversies of our age, finding signals that people should attend to that vary from the design of fashion magazines and the rising price of basic foodstuffs in Egypt to Russian incursions into the Crimea and Chinese muscle-flexing in the South China Sea. Dr Malmgren argues that there was a relatively benign and brief period after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when geopolitical risk appeared to take a backseat and academics pronounced on the “end of history”, but that since 9/11, the financial crash and turmoil in regions such as the Middle East, talk of history ending seems hubristic, at least. (Weidenfeld & Nicholson.)
Capital Without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent. By Brooke Harrington. The book ponders the question, how do the one percent hold on to their wealth? And how do they keep getting richer, despite financial crises and the myriad of taxes on income, capital gains, and inheritance? The 359-page book takes what is a critical look at how advisors assist high net worth individuals minimise taxes and stay on the right side of the law. (Harvard University Press.)
Enterprise Risk Management In Finance, by Desheng Dash Wu and David L Olson. This book, which is technically rigorous (there are mathematical equations), looks at the kind of risks firms face (and which need to be understood by investors face: financial market crashes, natural/man-made disasters, environmental issues, etc. Desheng Dash Wu is affiliate professor at RiskLab University of Toronto, senior lecturer at the Stockholm Business School and he serves as special-term professor at the Management School, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. His co-author is the James & HK Stuart Professor in MIS, and Chancellor’s Professor at the University of Nebraska. This book is very much at the technical end of understanding risk management, rather than for laypersons. The book is 256 pages in length. (Palgrave Macmillan.)
Practical Operational Due Diligence On Hedge Funds: Processes, Procedures and Case Studies. By Rajiv Jaitly, who is managing partner of his eponymous firm, Jaitly LLP, a risk consultancy. In light of problems that arose like rocks in a falling tide in the 2008 financial crisis, and which have also surfaced before and since that year, it is timely for wealth managers to understand some of the necessary checks that must be performed before committing money to hedge funds. Jaitly has worked with regulatory authorities in the UK and held non-executive directorship roles at funds. This book is chunky at 820 pages. A standout feature is its collection of detailed case studies going back more than a decade. It contains all manner of information to show how to spot weaknesses and risks in hedge funds, as well as signs of those that are likely to be well managed and deliver for clients. (Wiley.)