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Tone from the top: SEI and Benchmark Capital

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Brett Williams (00:08):
Hi, I'm Brett Williams of SEI, and I'm here today to talk about our partnership with Benchmark Capital. SEI provides an SWP platform, so an institutional platform, which is the engine which sits behind wealth management businesses.

David White (00:23):
Hi, I'm David White, I'm Chief Executive of Benchmark Capital. We're a wealth management solutions business, and we provide technology investment and advice solutions to UK financial advisors. Partnership to me means trust and respect. So everything about the partnership we have with SEI is built on trust, but it's built on respect. I think from the conversations that Brett and I have, and then throughout our respective organisations, they know that tone is set from the top, and it's really important that there is that trust in each other's capabilities, in each other's skills and experiences, but there's a real respect that goes throughout both of our organisations, and that to me is the secret of a strong partnership. I think that's what works really well for us, in the sense that we know each other's goals, we know each other's aims, and we can join together seamlessly to bring it to life.

Brett Williams (01:18):
I think one of the things of a good partnership is not just that we sort of agree with each other, but that we can challenge each other to make sure that we actually understand each other, and sometimes to change direction slightly. Outsourcing now is a huge decision for anybody to take, and if you take it, you want to be able to trust the people that you're working with, and the best way to trust the people that you're working with is to know that they deliver what they promise. That's what I do say to other CEOs, other potential partners of ours, is we will help you focus on the thing that's most important to you and your business, and we will help you to build a business, but to do that, we have to work in partnership. You have to tell us what it is you're trying to achieve, because we to know that in order to make sure that we can help you achieve that.

David White (02:07):
Yeah, I'd agree, Brett. I think for me, it's about being open and honest about what you want out of the relationship, but also making sure you understand what a partnership is. A lot of people say, "I want a partnership," but then what they introduce is the client supplier relationship, and then they wonder why it doesn't work for them. That's from the CEO all the way down to the people who are running the operations and dealing with the day to day challenges that come up. I think at every level, you've got to invest in that relationship. Otherwise, you won't get out of it what you want. I think the other bit is about adaptability. I mean, none of us could have foreseen the year we had last year, and we continue to have challenges this year with COVID and how we've adapted.

But I think just continually adapting, realising the new situation, getting our teams together, and doing all that remotely has been, quite frankly, phenomenal. Just the whole adaptability, the whole way that we've supported each other really along that journey, but that to me is the sign of a true partnership, that you've been able to see where we're going, you've adapted along the way, and you've really helped us be the success we are today. I think it's about how do we continue to adapt and continue to evolve our business model so that we can continue to have joint success.


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