Is your adviser not taking your trust seriously?

To my horror I was part of a discussion where a colleague in the fiduciary industry who works at a prominent wealth manager spoke to me about their clients and their service offering. When I asked who takes care of their clients’ trust needs, the reply was: “We have cracked the code, as long as you have the client’s balance sheet, that is where you make money. We realised trust services do not make us money, so we stay clear from that as it is just too risky”. I was horrified and replied: “So are you telling me you do not care about your clients’ needs? Who then takes care of that, as you know as well as I do, clients, especially now, need help and they may rely on you as their primary financial relationship? Do you not even refer them to a reputable trust service provider? The person was speechless.” I then realised the false sense of security that a number of clients experience with their financial service providers – such as their financial advisors, accountants, attorneys and banks - as this seems to be a general issue. SARS and the Master are introducing all sorts of changes. I believe it is the ethical duty and responsibility of professionals to assist their clients, whether they provide trust services themselves or whether they form part of a network of professionals to take care of their clients’ financial needs. It should not only be about their profits. Or they should tell their clients that.