28th February 2022


Interview with James Barnes, Director of Alpha Global Wealth

  1. Firstly - please give us an overview of your company, the work that you do, your clients and the services you offer.  What are your core values/goals? How do these contribute to your overall success? Have these core values changed at all since your establishment?

    Alpha Global Wealth is a small boutique family office in the heart of Geneva, taking care of 150 international expatriates living and working in Switzerland. What separates us from our competitors are the core values of trust, honesty, genuine care and the attention paid to the smallest of details. Speed stuns and we always without fail respond and deal with any enquiries within 24 hours, even at weekends, when clients have the time to look at their own portfolio’s. We work in years and decades, building lasting relationships, proactively engaging with our clients through a constant portfolio review process, to understand the current market trends, discuss and understand underlying fears, emotions and future wealth requirements. Alpha will be 5 years old in 2022 and whilst the core values haven’t changed, we have strengthened our proposition for the many clients that have existing portfolio’s with other wealth managers, IFA’s and investment banks, that maybe haven’t received the service levels and performance they were led to expect. 
  2. What kind of clients do you serve and how do you approach them? How do you differentiate yourself from potential competitors (if relevant)? What is, essentially, your unique selling point?

    We pride ourselves on being truly independent and offering a value for money investment and advice service. We have now reached the enviable position where we can pick and choose the clients we wish to work with, as such clients are by invitation or recommendation only, with minimum account sizes. One of our unique selling points is that we can construct a globally diverse and balanced investment portfolio without any restrictions or limitations. We find the larger brokerages have usually partnered up with fund houses and investment arms to create a ‘dual’ branded investment solution or DFM that has layers of fees and charges which pushes the TER sky high and doesn’t really offer true diversification or a value proposition. In many cases we can offer a far better solution, whilst lowering the overall annual cost of a portfolio, leading to greater annualised returns.
  3. What role do your staff play in the success of your firm? What qualities do you look for when recruiting new talent? How would you describe your internal culture and how does it contribute to you company’s success? Dedication, drive and ambition are key attributes for a good Alpha employee. Someone that understands that the client is central to everything we do, we work for the clients and without them the business is nothing. We have a culture of continuous education and learning, any employee can study and take any relevant industry examinations both in the UK, Europe or Switzerland to better their knowledge and qualifications and the company will support and pay for the study text, cost of examination and pay for the time/days required to take the exams. Whether you are client facing, back office, or in administration we are all driven to daily improvements and exceptional client service.
  4. Can you detail any specific industry-based challenges you are facing now and may do in the near future?  By extension, if applicable, what impact has COVID-19 had on your industry or operations? Were there any unexpected benefits or advantages to the situation you found yourself in? 

    The pandemic was a huge shock to the business in the first months of March/April 2020, as it would have been for all businesses. However, I quickly realised that all our clients wanted was to be kept in touch and informed of what was happening to their portfolio’s, investments, the markets, our business and what might happen in the future. We immediately contact everyone and scheduled 1 hour emergency video Teams meetings. I was holding 4-6 sessions daily for 6 weeks straight, the team were working from home, I however came into the office on my own each day, so the clients could see familiar surroundings and that Alpha was keeping it finger on the pulse. The immediate action that we took, was to offer proactive advice on limiting downside risk and identifying growth sectors that we felt would bounce back rapidly from the market correction. What amazed me, was how much money was sitting on the side lines waiting to be invested, as a business we had the largest inflows ever in a quarter in Q2 2020. One such investment recommendation was for clients to invest in Global crude Oil & Gas majors as a short term 18-24 month play, which they are now enjoying 80%+ gains. 

    We now see that there are clients wishing to start engaging again face to face, which is such a delight and for us its wonderful to welcoming people back into our offices. There are however a proportion of clients that are enjoying conducting business via video Teams meetings and for them and also us it’s an extremely time efficient way of managing and revieing accounts. I am able to hold 5-6 meeting daily now instead of 2-3 face to face meetings.
  5. Do you have any plans for 2021 and beyond that you would like to share with our readers? We wish to keep improving our service levels, product offerings and online ADC ‘Alpha Digital Connect’ expansion of the team in key areas will enable this and ultimately, engage with our clients even more. We have found that 6 x 30 minute sessions annually are far better received than 2 x 1 hour meetings.
  6. Do you have anything to add? Anything you would like the writing team to mention or focus on? Please do add details here that you feel were missed by the above questions. 

    Alpha Global Wealth has its ‘Vision 2030’ 

Alpha’s top 8 investment picks for ‘Vision 2030’

  • ARK Genomic Revolution ETF – Gene therapy bio-informatics, bio inspired computing and molecular medicine.
  • Guinness Sustainable Global Equity Fund – Exposure to high quality companies with excellent ESG aligned with robust sustainability themes. 
  • LIT Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF
  • WisdomTree Artificial Intelligence ETF
  • IShares Automation & Robotics
  • Guinness Sustainable Green Energy Fund – Actively managed selection of 35 companies in solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biofuels and biomass sectors. 
  • ARK Space Exploration & Innovation ETF – Orbital and sub-orbital aerospace, technologies, aerospace activities (agriculture, internet, GPS, construction and imaging )
  • WisdomTree Cloud Computing ETF