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Review summary

Brooks Macdonald International

Brooks Macdonald is a trading name of Brooks Macdonald Group plc. which has been operating in various forms since 1991.  The firm is UK-centric with offices also in Jersey and Guernsey.

Brooks Macdonald has made a concerted effort to ‘go international’.  Synchronously, (perhaps a coincidence, although we think not) the Financial Conduct Authority has brought into force in the UK the Retail Distribution Review, “a key part of [their] consumer protection strategy”. 

The company now has entities not only in Guernsey and Jersey but elsewhere, for instance Brooks Macdonald Asset Management (International) Limited regulated by the South African Financial Services Board and acquired in 2014.

Customer Reviews
Expert Verdict

Assets under management have passed £8 billion since acquisitions including Brooks Macdonald (International) and Levitas Investment Management Services.

Brooks Macdonald services the international market from their Channel Islands base, working with professional advisers, trustees and private clients around the world. 

Brooks Macdonald angle their international offering towards advisers, as opposed to marketing it directly to individual retail clients.

The UK discretionary fund management service now claims to be fee-based and not product focussed.  Their domestic specialities include divorce, Tier 1 Visas and Court of Protection awards.

The International Bespoke Portfolio Service is offered to offshore advisers, and managers offer a range of portfolio components - from single companies and unit trusts to UCITS, fixed interest securities, exchange-traded funds and structured products.


The Pros

> Strong brand
> Traditional approach to beating markets
> Secure

The Cons

> Expensive way to invest
> Active methodology is academically questionable
> Pays retrocession commission to your adviser which can create conflict
Is there a DFM service offering?

Brooks Macdonald International DFM service offering comprises of the International Bespoke Portfolio Service (BPS), International Managed Portfolio Service (MPS), Multi-Asset Funds (MAF), and Single Strategy Solutions.

What is the International Bespoke Portfolio Service (BPS)?

The International Bespoke Portfolio Service is designed for clients with a minimum of £200,000 (or currency equivalent) to invest, who want an individual investment portfolio constructed to meet their specific requirements. 

It is available in sterling, euros and US dollars.

BPS portfolios are managed by dedicated investment managers operating in teams.  Each team is led by an investment team director, and supported by Brooks Macdonald’s investment and asset allocation committees.

The portfolios are run in line with Brooks Macdonald’s centralised investment process.

What is the International Managed Portfolio Service (MPS)?

The International Managed Portfolio Service is a multi-asset investment solution, which provides a choice of six risk-rated model portfolios. 

It is available to those with £20,000 or more to invest.

Each model portfolio is designed to suit differing investment objectives associated with your attitude to risk, by investing in collective investment schemes and ETFs with exposure across a wide spectrum of asset classes.

The International MPS portfolios are managed centrally by a dedicated team of investment managers, supported by Brooks MacDonald’s investment and asset allocation committees, and centralised investment process.

The International MPS have been designed to provide an investment solution for professional advisers authorised to give financial advice to clients.

Advisers can choose from and recommend one or more of the following strategies; Fixed Income, Defensive, Cautious Balance, Balanced, Growth and High Growth.

Do they have Multi-Asset Funds (MAF)?

Brooks Macdonald’s Multi-Asset Fund (MAF) range allows investors to gain access to their discretionary management expertise and proven centralised investment process through a pooled fund solution, otherwise known as a collective investment scheme.

This entails investment in one of their four multi asset funds which are sub-funds of the IFSL Brooks Macdonald Fund, and which are provided by Investment Fund Services Limited, managed and distributed by Brooks Macdonald Funds Limited.

The solutions are available in sterling, euros, US dollars and Singapore dollars.

Options to select from are Defensive Income, Cautious Growth, Balanced and Strategic Growth.

Do they offer Single Strategy Investment Solutions?

Brooks Macdonald’s offer two single strategy investment solutions that invest in traditional Fixed Income or Direct Equity.

The Corporate Bond Strategy invests in a well-diversified portfolio of largely single-A and triple-B investment grade bond issues. 

The portfolio aims to provide positive total returns, and offers the option of either taking or reinvesting income.  These are segregated portfolios and are available in sterling, euros and US dollars.

The Direct Equity Strategy is structured to provide capital appreciation and income growth over the medium-to-long term, by directly investing in a portfolio of high quality stocks whose selection criteria is sustainable, resilient and growing earnings.

What are Brooks Macdonald's fees and charges?

Fees and charges depend on service, but we have set out the basic charges below:

Bespoke Portfolio Service:

Initial charge: 3% + VAT on all new funds invested in the portfolio

AMC: 1.5% + VAT

Dealing charges: 1% on the first £10,000 and then tiered lower on amounts over. (All transactions are subject to a £15 administration charge)

ISA charges: 0.50% + VAT on the first £30,000 / 0.10% + VAT thereafter

Execution only: If you decide to have an execution only element to your

Portfolio the charge for this will be a maximum 0.4% + VAT 

Managed Portfolio Service:

Initial charge: 0% on portfolios transferred in cash or

0.50% + VAT on portfolios transferred in specie

AMC: 0.50% + VAT on all passive portfolios

0.75% + VAT on all other portfolios

Admin: Additional administration charges apply 

In addition, your professional adviser is likely to charge fees in addition to the fees charged by Brooks Macdonald – somewhere in the region of 1% to 1.5%.


A bit conflicted

I was introduced to Brooks Macdonald via my IFA - it wasn't a name I was familiar with before - that's not to say it isn't a good company, just, not one I'd heard of. I was fairly happy with my portfolio and it's general performance - but then i got a second opinion after googling around for more info about Brooks Macdonald in general. The review from AES showed me the commission my adviser took and it's left a bit of a sour taste. I cant say I'm wholly annoyed, just, well, there wasn't complete transparency like I thought...

Hence the review title - I am a bit conflicted...need to consider my options as laid out in my X-Ray review.

Expert Assessment of Brooks MacDonald International

Whilst Brooks MacDonald is a respected name and they provide a range of international actively managed DFM solutions, we believe that there are better and more cost-effective alternatives.

If you already have a Discretionary Managed Portfolio with Brooks MacDonald and it is worth £50,000 or more, we recommend you get a X-Ray Review™ conducted to give you the information you need to make a decision on the best way forward. 

Brooks Macdonald International Brochure

Brooks Macdonald International - International Management Brochure

Brooks Macdonald International Fact Sheet

Brooks Macdonald International Client Investing Guide

Brooks Macdonald International Annual Report 2015

Brooks Macdonald International Terms and Conditions

Brooks Macdonald International Alternative Investment Market Admission Document

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