Brewin Dolphin

“Brewin Dolphin can highly recommend Oxford Risk Rating Online. Our Advisers find it convenient and easy to use, and our customers like being able to receive the assessments via email. The output is clear and informative, and we find the site is flexible enough to accommodate our internal teams and requirements”

Brewin Dolphin plc is one of the largest British investment management and financial planning firms with 39 offices throughout the UK and Channel Islands. The company also has a wholly owned subsidiary Tilman Brewin Dolphin Limited, which is based in Dublin, and which is also a client of Oxford Risk.

The business can trace its origins back to the establishment of the stockbroking firm of John Dawes, a founder of the London Stock Exchange, in 1762. His firm evolved through many partner changes to become Wontner, Dolphin & Francis in 1970. In 1974 Brewin & Co merged with Wontner, Dolphin & Francis to form Brewin Dolphin. The business was incorporated in 1987 and acquired by Scandinavian Bank the same year. It was then the subject of a management buy-out from Scandinavian Bank in 1992 and was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1994.


In 2014 Brewin Dolphin commissioned Oxford Risk to develop a risk profiling process for Brewin Dolphin and Tilman Brewin Dolphin, that would accurately place investors into risk tolerance categories. This output would have to provide defensible evidence to map the tolerance categories to the Brewin Dolphin investment strategies, to act as a first step in the engagement with an investor.

The risk profiling process would have to be delivered within a system that would enhance the functionality of providing investors access to the assessments, and include options for remote access to assessments, as well as a facility for advisers to review completed assessments ahead of a face – to – face meeting with investors.


Oxford Risk delivered several customised assessments, for use with individual retail investors, and an additional version to be used with an Irish investor base through Tilman Brewin Dolphin. The output of the Brewin Dolphin Risk Profiler was supported by a suitability analysis that empirically tested and mapper the preferences of investors across from each risk tolerance category and the 6 representative investment mandates from Brewin Dolphin. In this mapping, the effect of time horizon on risk preferences was also explored, allowing for the mapping to differentiate preferences for short-term (3-5 years) investments, and long-term (15+ year) investments.

The risk profiling IP was delivered through 2 bespoke domains on the Oxford Risk Rating Online platform. Access to all relevant users, from advisers to administrators was provided through a team ( or ‘affiliate’) structure that mirrors the geographical and team specific hierarchy within the Brewin Dolphin corporate structure. Oxford Risk delivered training to facilitate the implementation of the new risk profiling process, and to enhance the ability of daily users to quickly familiarise themselves with the ORR Online functionality.


The new risk profiling process allows for Brewin Dolphin advisers to have a consistent start to the interaction with investors. The provision of the risk tolerance category, and the suitability analysis that compliments the output with a mapping to the preferred risk level, allows advisors to better engage with investors by basing the initial engagement on risk levels that are known to be suitable to the majority of investors that share their tolerance. This enables the subsequent discussion between advisers and investors to focus on exploring their specific goals, needs and constraints with a reference to the generally preferred level of risk. This process provides the consistency and best practice of academic approaches to risk profiling, whilst facilitating the discussions the advisers must have with investors by allowing them to engage by going through the process of understanding their requirements whilst considering the level of risk, time horizon, or contribution necessary to achieve them.