What is GAIA?
GAIA is an international network of 17 investment advisory firms, whose overriding commitment is to best practice and fiduciary excellence. Each quarter we meet by video conference and annually we meet somewhere in the world to learn and share ideas.
The commitment of the group is to share openly and help each other build world-class businesses. As a foundation, all firms share the same evidence-based investment philosophy, which means that we avoid speculative activity in favour of a more systematic, research-driven approach.
This is where one of the biggest benefits emerges. Having a 17-firm research department means that we have access to many different conversations around the world, that time would otherwise prevent us having. Each firm has its own Investment Committee, and trends and ideas are shared and considered. When we need to, we pool our resources and contacts to gain access to some of the world’s brightest investment minds. This provides access to people we couldn’t hope to hear from as a single firm.
Each GAIA firm is required to maintain the CEFEX certification. For clients, this means we comply with the highest fiduciary standards in the world, where each firm’s investment process is audited annually against prudent investment standards.
GAIA standards encompass all aspects of client relationships from the development of their financial and investment plans and written investment policy statements, to our review and evaluation of their investment portfolios. This includes the ongoing guidance and monitoring of each step of the client’s financial journey.
Best Practice Initiatives
With 17 firms all contributing best practice ideas, we are never short of opportunities to improve! At a practical level we have recently implemented several initiatives from other member firms.
First was the structure we used for the equity sell-down to our seven new Principals. These succession principles were first developed by our partner firms Abacus and PlanCorp in the USA. The benefit of leveraging off these systems is it saves time and cost, but most importantly, significantly reduces risk. This is good as it keeps us focused on the main game of serving clients, while making a commitment to be a multi-generation firm.
More recently we have been working on the implementation of our socially responsible investment portfolios. This is an important trend in the investment world. While it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, increasing numbers of investors are seeking the choice to align their investment decisions with their personal values. Member firms, Abacus and Stewart Partners, have been leading this change for many years.
As we think about the future, we are increasingly aware that much will change. We will need to find, test and implement technology solutions to enhance our clients’ experience and convenience; and to improve the efficiency of our delivery.
Our membership of GAIA helps us, and by extension helps our clients; engage in many conversations we might otherwise be excluded from. Our commitment to be a world-class firm means we need to understand what world-class is. And this is a never-ending quest!
*As Founding Members of the Global Association of Independent Advisors, Capital Partners Private Wealth meets the fiduciary standards set out in the GAIA Charter and the CEFEX framework for fiduciary excellence. Because our insurance subsidiary continues to receive insurance brokerage, the Capital Partners Group cannot claim to be independent under section 923 of the Corporations Act.