Our background

Who is Trust DFM?

If you are reading this, it’s probably because your financial adviser has introduced us as the firm that will be managing your money day to day, to help you achieve your long-term investment goals.

But for us at Trust DFM, making investment returns is only the start. As you get to know our story, you’ll see why and how we think we’re different to other discretionary fund managers (DFMs) and the reasons your adviser thinks we should work together.

Whether you’re investing for growth, planning for retirement, or looking at how to spend your rainy-day funds, we work with your financial adviser to find the solutions that are best for you.

We started from a different place

Most companies, discretionary fund managers (DFMs) included, are usually started with the aim of generating a profit and making their owners money. After all isn’t that why you would start a company?

However, Trust DFM was created in an entirely unique way.

In 1995, Wills & Trusts, a fairly new independent financial advisor (IFA) firm based in Buckinghamshire, was looking for someone with the necessary skill and understanding to manage their client’s investments. But try as they might they could not find anyone to do the job who fulfilled their exceptionally high standards. The providers available at the time were either too expensive, delivered mediocre performance returns, or they treated clients like numbers rather than people. So, they decided to do it themselves.

Over the years Wills & Trusts started to share their ideas with other like-minded IFAs and became highly successful, not just at producing what we think are great returns, but by treating their clients (just like you) as real people not just numbers or lists of names.

Over time, changes in the investment world were happening increasingly quickly and so to keep managing clients’ money in the most effective way, Wills & Trusts set up its own DFM service, called Trust DFM. This meant that, under the management of Trust DFM, clients’ investments could be amended without seeking separate approval for every change. At the same time, Trust DFM started to manage investments for other IFAs who had shared in Wills & Trusts’ earlier strategies and ideas.

These original IFAs have now become Founding Partners and shareholders in Trust DFM. Believing, as we do, that a DFM firm who understands IFAs relationship with their clients is going to help deliver the best long-term outcomes for everyone involved, it was only right they become part of what Trust DFM is building.

Today, Trust DFM is owned by a dozen or so Founding Partners. This means the owners of Trust DFM are all IFAs and so they run Trust DFM for the right reasons, and do not put profit first.

We like to think we have several unique approaches that you will find to be a refreshing change when compared to the run of the mill DFM service.

Objective-based approach

Usually, DFMs focus mostly on ‘risk’ when they design portfolios. While this is important, we think it is even more important to focus on your objectives. If we focus on your objectives first, we can build and manage a portfolio based on the outcome that you want to achieve and then manage the risk levels accordingly.

Client-first communication

DFMs spend all day every day thinking about investments, and all the related matters, like interest rates and the economic cycle. Because they are so specialised, they obviously use certain language and terminology specific to their industry. Now, what you and I might think of when we hear about interest rates going up is, how it might affect our mortgage payments, or what rate we’re going to get on our savings accounts, but it means something hugely different in the investment world! Trust DFM’s IFA background means that we understand these differences in context and experience exist, and we focus on delivering messages to you from the investment world in a simple, but not simplistic, way. We believe everyone should be able to understand the statements and comments they get from their investment managers. And we intend to give these updates a lot more often than every six months too!

We love David Attenborough’s views on the world

In this complex world, many people have become concerned about the impact we have with our “throw-away” lifestyles, and what state we’re leaving the planet in for our future generations…

Knowing this, we’ve built a range of investments which is focussed on changing that “throw-away” lifestyle to a more sustainable one. Rather than copy what the rest of the investment world is doing, we’ve taken to heart the warnings and guidance delivered by Sir David Attenborough in his book ‘A Life On Our Planet’ and built our sustainability range based on his views and those of economics professor Kate Raworth. We believe that anyone can understand what we’re doing and why, when you think of Sir David’s work. We’d like to think it is something he would be proud of.

Our unique The Attenborough Scale® allows you to decide what percentage of your investments will focus on building a better planet. Now you can have the chance to do a bit more than just put out the recycling!

A committee with a face

Usually, when you pass the decision making for your investments over to someone else, be it at the bank, using a multi manager fund or to a DFM like us, you very rarely get to know the people responsible for those decisions. That can sometimes make you feel uncomfortable, especially when times are hard and investments just seem to keep going down. We understand that and want you to get to know all our investment committee and how you could have your questions about investments or markets answered.

Each quarter we release a video update from our chief investment officer, and maybe one or two of the other committee members, who can explain the reasons behind the decisions they make. You can also send specific questions to your IFA who will pass these on to us to get a personalised answer if you need one.

Low fees

Because we are owned by IFAs, we focus on delivering the best value for money that we can, not on how much profit we can make. Therefore, we have one of the lowest fees of any UK DFM service.

We do not work with members of the public directly, because we believe in the importance of high-quality financial advice. Your IFA will have more details about us and how we work and so please talk to them about what you want and need, and how Trust DFM might be able to help you.