On The Road’s Alex Foster recently travelled to Scotland, keeping the team up-to-date about his journey throughout the region’s wealth industry.
After enjoying a weekend up in the North East of England, I ventured along the scenic train route up to Edinburgh to kick off two days of meetings with the city’s finest in wealth management. Tasked with the aim of finding out what the Scottish audience sees as the biggest industry trend for 2019, first on my list was CIO of Murray Asset Management, Simon Lloyd.
‘Within the wealth management world, we are going to continue seeing the consolidation of big firms acquiring smaller firms, as FUM are easily grown through this manner,’ he said.
With the acquisition of Scottish firms Spiers & Jeffery and Tcam by Rathbones and 7IM, respectively, last year, Lloyd’s prediction could well be correct.
Following this, I met Andrew Spence, senior investment director at Charlotte Square Investment Management. Spence reflected on the industry trend he sees happening this year.
‘In recent years, there
has been a trend (driven by regulation, scale and servicing requirements) shifting clients into model portfolios. With the aid of AI and technology, I believe a new trend will emerge in the years ahead – a renaissance in bespoke portfolio management, and it will be better than it ever was before.’
As evening fell, I met my colleague, Ashley, from sister magazine New Model Adviser, for a light dinner. However, what transpired was enough BBQ to feed two elephants, leaving the two warriors truly defeated. Off to bed, with another big day ahead tomorrow.
Bye for now, Alex
Waking up with a stomach still trying to digest ribs and chicken wings, I skipped breakfast and headed to my first meeting of the day with Paul Embleton, head of Brown Shipley’s Edinburgh office. Keen to hear about further trends for 2019, Embleton told me about the biggest challenge for Brown Shipley.
‘Reaction to regulation – standing still isn’t an option. Substantial investment in tech this year will make the process as smooth as possible for our clients and advisers,’ he said.
In fact, tech is something that became the theme of my next meeting, although in a slightly different way.
Crossing diagonally across Charlotte Square, I dropped into Adam & Company’s office to meet director of specialist advice Colin Mann and associate director of business development Bobby Hamilton. The pair see tech as crucial, but predominantly in the sense of sourcing new clients.
‘In Edinburgh, there is a massive amount of small tech startups – so much investment is coming in,’ Mann said. ‘Our trend is to tap into the Scottish entrepreneurial tech spirit. You will lose the next generation if you don’t engage now.’
Following a quick stop at McDonald’s for a wrap of the day (which was Friday), I boarded the train to Glasgow for one final meeting, speedily making my way to Investec’s office upon arrival, to chat with senior investment director Alistair Cumming about his market outlook surrounding Brexit.
‘If no deal is possible, I would worry about a gradual change from globalisation to the uncharted waters of regionalisation, which I think could be bad news for international companies,’ he said. ‘The road ahead could be bumpier, and I expect overall returns are set to remain relatively subdued compared with most of the period since the financial crisis.’
Back out into the cold and onto the long train ride home to London, there’s time to reflect on another brilliant trip to Scotland – informative, yet fun, as always. How will I pass the time on the train? There’s always meeting notes to type up...
Until next time, Alex