Life initially led Neil Heriot down a completely different path. He worked in the veterinary area in agricultural irrigation, but admits he always had an interest in stocks and investment.
He decided the financial world held better prospects in his 30s, so launched an investment advisory business in Adelaide in 1988 with Pembroke Financial Services. Ord Minnett then bought into half of the business and it was built up from 12 employees to over 100 employees over the next seven years.
He was instrumental in introducing the role of paraplanners into the profession, with the firm growing to be the second-largest financial services provider in Adelaide just behind Macquarie.
Heriot moved the business to Sanctuary Cove in 2003, making the decision based purely on weather and lifestyle. He launched Boston Private Wealth in 2010, and is the director and a private wealth investor. “Servicing interstate clients has changed dramatically – Zoom has been fantastic,” he says.
Boston provides clients many investment types, some which aren’t generally available on platforms, and not usually available at a ‘typical’ advisory practice.
Business is anything but slow. Cash rates dropping below 1 per cent prompted keen interest from new and existing investors wanting to construct a more balanced portfolio. Clients tend to be business owners and executives, with plenty of medical professionals in the mix thanks to a referral relationship with a chartered accountancy firm in Bathurst.
“We receive allocations to property and infrastructure trusts and have our clients invest in these directly. We run a virtual wrap with Xplan, which can handle direct investments, shares, fixed interest and management funds.”
“In each asset class, we select core and satellite. We index the core and use the value added investments for the satellite – we also use direct property unlisted syndicates. We select best of breed in each asset class,” he says.
Heriot told The Australian in an interview late last year that he also has access to a number of wholesale property and infrastructure managers with investment propositions not available to most other advisers. “Allocations are typically offered and gone within 48 hours of being released. These are exclusive deals, and our clients have made a substantial profit from these opportunities,” he revealed.
Boston also specialises in overarching personal and retirement strategies, seeking out the best of breed investments for each asset class. It has been nearly 100 per cent compliant for many years, with no commissions, and the required industry changes that came from the Royal Commission resulting in only a few small alterations in wording, he says.
The firm has $700 million in funds under management spread across 280 clients. It employs five advisers across two offices, racking up $3.8 million in annual revenues. Boston advisers like to dig deep during client conversations to understand client objectives and to understand their investment risk tolerance, he says.
Boston charges ongoing fees, mostly direct debit quarterly in arrears. The fees are 1 per cent for the first $1 million, 0.5 per cent for funds above this, plus GST. The fee structure has remained the same since 1993. “We target wealth accumulators with $500,000-plus who can save $100,000 per annum, and pre and post-retirees with $1 million-plus, generating reliable income to fund spending requirements,” he says.
Heriot’s career has been peppered with professional awards, with reliable cashflow a long-held centrepiece strategy in the business. Outside of work, Heriot likes to travel with his wife Deb and stay active, with golf a favoured pastime.
He reckons he’s the only financial planner to drive to work in a golf buggy – in a journey that takes around three minutes – to an office that overlooks the local marina. “Living at Sanctuary Cove is just fantastic,” he says.