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The 53 wealth managers we profiled in 2017 part I

All of the names - from firms large and small - that we interviewed this year.

Why Patronus Partners' founder left the only job he ever knew

Picking the right moment to strike out on one’s own is daunting for anyone, but for Patronus Partners’ chief executive officer (CEO) Paul Kavanagh that time came two years ago when he decided to leave Killik & Co – the only firm he had ever known – to set up the boutique.

‘You recognise your moment,’ says Kavanagh. ‘You have to continue to be entrepreneurial. I was of an age where if I was ever going to do this I would have to do it now.’

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Why Patronus Partners' founder left the only job he ever knew

Picking the right moment to strike out on one’s own is daunting for anyone, but for Patronus Partners’ chief executive officer (CEO) Paul Kavanagh that time came two years ago when he decided to leave Killik & Co – the only firm he had ever known – to set up the boutique.

‘You recognise your moment,’ says Kavanagh. ‘You have to continue to be entrepreneurial. I was of an age where if I was ever going to do this I would have to do it now.’

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'A lot of the hard work is done' says Charles Stanley

‘For the last two years we have been very inward-looking, focusing on the business model, the proposition and the reward structure,’ says Gary Teper, Charles Stanley’s head of investment management.

‘It’s been hard work, but it is now starting to pay off. We’ve turned a corner, and there is positive momentum behind Charles Stanley.’

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MoneyFarm's CEO on creatively disrupting wealth

MoneyFarm may appear the quintessential tech start-up: it has the requisite open plan office in a fashionable part of town, jeans-clad, tie-free millennials on ball chairs, and the obligatory office ping-pong table.

In denim himself, chief executive Giovanni Daprà does nothing to ruffle that impression, looking every inch a young Silicon roundabout iconoclast. It is hard to bridge the conceptual gap between him and the classically well-fed and pin-striped private client manager.

But even so, he still faces the same issues of how to gain client trust as the Mayfair counterparts he is doing his best to disrupt.

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Building the four pillars of Progeny Group

‘He nearly fell off his chair laughing,’ recalls Neil Moles, describing his first meeting with Dominic Scoffield, the owner of Leeds-based financial advisory Lawrence Scoffield.

The then 24-year old Moles had told Scoffield that he would join his firm if he could buy it. His new boss was impressed by his front, both were true to their word and four years later, Moles went on to lead a buyout back in 2008.

Now rebranded as Progeny Group, the company has been completely overhauled. It has offices in Leeds and London and its proposition has been broadened from pure financial planning to include discretionary investment management, and private and corporate legal services – what Moles describes as the four pillars of the business.

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Scalable Capital is the name, but not the challenge

Hanging the face of financial services is clearly the goal at Scalable Capital, and one can easily sense the excitement after a chat with its co-founders in their brand new office, geared for growth, in the City.

The company was launched in Germany in 2015 and in the UK last year with a mission to make investment more accessible to those who cannot afford a private bank’s services.

After gathering €125 million (£108 million) of assets in their first 12 months of running the business, co-founders Adam French, Ella Rabener and Simon Miller are not just enthusiastic about what 2017 will bring, but also feel their concept is resonating with people.

Rabener, describing the proposition as occupying a ‘new category of financial services’, says Scalable is a technology firm with data at its core.

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From Batman Live to commodity beta

Boutique fund and wealth management house Charteris may be a family affair, with two generations of co-founder Ian Williams’ family under one roof, but the company has absolutely not gone sentimental.

‘Ian doesn’t remember this,’ says his son and company investment manager Mark Williams, 'but the day before I joined he took me to one side and said “if this doesn’t work out, I will fire you”.’

Almost a decade on, and the risk of frosty domestic exchanges over the breakfast table appear diminished – especially after a bumper 2016, which witnessed the bantamweight group beating some of the UK’s heaviest of heavyweight asset managers in some of the most hotly-contested fund leagues.   

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Change is the only constant for Quilter Cheviot

This is not the first time David Miller has been a Wealth Manager cover star, but back at the time of his previous appearance, in September 2009, the company he worked for looked very different.

At the time head of alternative investments at Cheviot Asset Management, the company has since merged with Quilter and subsequently been bought by Old Mutual. Some may argue that this has created a completely different beast, but Miller says that in reality not much has changed.

‘In terms of our approach to investment and the way we make decisions and report to clients, not a lot has changed. It has evolved, but it hasn’t changed,’ he says.

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Beaufort's high-flying CIO on climbing to £2.5bn

From getting his pilot’s licence in just 21 days to cramming his investment management qualifications into a single year, Stewart Murray is a man who likes to get things done quickly.

Since joining Kent-based Beaufort Investment Management as co-chief investment officer last August, he has helped oversee the opening of a London office and put in place ambitious plans to grow assets under management (AUM) to £2.5 billion within five years.

Murray joined the firm from Rowan Dartington, where he was head of equities, saying he was impressed by the company’s AUM growth and felt it could be accelerated further.

‘One of the biggest things that attracted me to Beaufort was the assets under management (AUM) growth. It’s been phenomenal and over the past year we have grown from £476 million to £620 million,’ he says.

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Meet the wealth business offering portfolios for £1

Robo-advice firm Wealthify is gambling the investment industry has been labouring under a set of misconceptions about the nature of its audience.

The company, which had previously done little to distinguish itself in the field of me-too business models which have ridden the post-Nutmeg wave, neatly flipped the idea of investment costs on its head by abandoning the lower bound on client assets: it now offers a full-service portfolio from £1.

‘Our rationale is democratising the process of investment, to people who have not traditionally invested, says Dr Richard Theo, serial tech entrepreneur and Wealthify co-founder and chief exec. 

 

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Unbuttoning Thomas Miller’s investment process

Last time Wealth Manager grilled TMI - in a summer 2016 interview with Andrew Herberts, at the time recently installed in the newly created role of head of private client investment management – the company said the restructure was all about ‘getting that top down strategic allocation right’.

The man responsible for TMI’s multi-asset investment process is Abi Oladimeji, who was promoted from head of research to chief investment officer in July 2016, around the same time TMI completed its overhaul.

With a background in financial and macroeconomic research, Oladimeji is all about going against the tide – not being swayed by what his peers are doing, but instead being guided by the numbers.

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Standing tall for impact investment

Wealth management is built on the concept of putting clients’ money to work, but one firm is taking this adage a step further and putting clients’ money to work in the world as well as in their portfolios.

Launched in November last year, Tribe Impact Capital’s mission statement is to create a ‘New Wealth Order’ in which a client’s wealth management is aligned with their ethical values.

‘You can vote every single day with your money,’ says Tribe Impact Capital co-founder Amy Clarke, who describes herself as an ‘impact bunny’, having worked in the sector for most of her career.

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The future's brightening for Brewin Dolphin

‘I imagine it won’t be too long before someone makes us an offer we can’t refuse,’ says Brewin Dolphin’s divisional director Rob Burgeman contemplatively, as he gazes out from the rooftop atrium of the company’s Smithfield HQ at the gentrification-in-waiting of the old vacant market buildings below.

In the interest of full disclosure, it is only fair to point out that Burgeman is referring to the redevelopment potential of the real estate beneath him, once CrossRail opens just a few hundred meters away in Farringdon at the end of 2018, and the Museum of London moves into the Victorian gothic hulk of the market, three years later.

Wags may be quick to draw a subliminal link to the mooted saleability of Brewin Dolphin, however. Speculation about its potential attractions as a bid target has been a regular source of City gossip almost from the moment it emerged from a multi-year restructure in 2015, not least in these pages.

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Impact investing for LGBT

Early last month, Charlie Nicholls launched wealth management firm Equality Capital as the impact investing arm of his firm CPN Investment Management – a Chichester-based discretionary management business.

Nicholls wanted to take up the banner for a cause that he believes has thus far been largely ignored by a tradition of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment still heavily influenced by its religious roots in Quakerism, Methodism and the Church of England.

As a gay man himself, that banner was the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. ‘We have taken the impact investing idea and moved it into the LGBT market because we think there is a definite need for it,’ says Nicholls.

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Shauna Bevan on diversity in a very male industry

As the manager of a men’s hockey team and only the third woman ever to give a speech at the 50-year-old male-only Pickwick Club, carving out a path in male-dominated fields is nothing new to Shauna Bevan.

Following 13 years at Charles Stanley, where she became head of open-ended fund research and featured in Wealth Manager’s Top 100 list of wealth management fund buyers, Bevan has now reunited with old colleagues to help grow their boutique.

Having previously worked with RiverPeak Wealth founder Nick Parker at Merrill Lynch, where she spent four years before moving to Charles Stanley, Bevan rejoined him at the beginning of this year as a director to head up the fledgling company’s investment advisory business.

 

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How Cerno was forged in Asia's boom and bust

Cerno Capital’s investment philosophy was born in the spectacular boom and bust of Asia in the 1990s.

Managing partners and co-founders Nick Hornby and James Spence witnessed first-hand both the giddy euphoria and the depths of despair while learning the ropes out in the Far East.

Hornby joined Cazenove straight from university – where he graduated from Bristol with an economics degree – in 1990, and very quickly found himself posted out to Hong Kong, where he first met Spence.

‘We were both property analysts,’ he recalls. ‘It was a great time to be out in Asia because China was just beginning to open up. It was the first time that Chinese stocks listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in 1992-93, and the Chinese were just starting to come over for shopping.’

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Rathbone's Glasgow boss on the road to £1bn

If Angus Kerr, head of Rathbone's Glasgow office, is feeling the stress he does not let it show when Wealth Manager sits down with him in its city centre premises. Midway through an impressive career, the Brewin Dolphin alumni was handed an ambitious task in 2015 when Rathbones tapped him to head the company’s expansion into Glasgow.

‘It was a very challenging period,’ he admits as he pours coffee. ‘But it was an exciting time and the right move. Rathbones felt there was a hole in Scotland when it came to its regional coverage for the west coast, that is why they got in touch. But there was a lot to do.’

The firm’s move into Scotland’s second city followed rapidly on the heels of a major expansion in north east England, with the opening of an office in Newcastle. As with the hiring of Kerr from Brewin Dolphin, the Tyneside office was opened for a poached team – in that instance, from UBS.

‘Heading up an office was new to me and definitely a challenge,’ Kerr explains. ‘But we benefited from being relatively new to the firm and following in the footsteps of the Newcastle office. I am very pleased to say a number of colleagues [from Brewin Dolphin] decided to join me here.’

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Meet the Sanlam duo taking the fight to SJP

Vertical integration may be under the regulator’s microscope, but it was the breadth of services Sanlam UK has and the opportunity to help forge them into a cohesive business that played a big part in attracting both John White and Alfio Tagliabue to the company.

Tagliabue joined Sanlam in January 2016, initially as chief financial officer, before taking on the role of chief executive at Sanlam Four, the group’s asset management business, in October. White moved to the firm in that same month, where he serves as chief executive of Sanlam Wealth.

Their appointments were representative of a significant period of change at the firm. This had really accelerated from late 2015 when former Ashcourt Rowan CEO Jonathan Polin was hired to lead Sanlam UK, a newly created company which brought together all of its different domestic businesses into a single £10 billion entity.

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John Brett's big plans for Anderson Strathern

When Wealth Manager sat down with John Brett in the Edinburgh offices of Anderson Strathern Asset Management, where he was appointed chief executive last year, he immediately presents a relaxed and welcoming figure.

While many wealth bosses may inadvertently show the strains of the job in trying times, Brett explains that his current role – which he took up towards the end of 2016 – came as a pleasant change of pace. Indeed, the Scot is now home in many respects.

‘It has been a lot of fun and I am enjoying myself,’ Brett says as he pours himself a coffee. ‘Working in a small firm is really good and takes me back to my roots.’

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How Tcam's new recruit plans to conquer the capital

James Drace-Francis wanted a fresh challenge when he was deciding on his next career move. After taking some time out from the industry following a spell at JP Morgan Private Bank, he admits he had grown somewhat disillusioned with where wealth management was heading.

‘At one point I was beginning to conclude this industry was maybe dying a death,’ he explains. ‘It was not addressing the needs people had and with the increasing costs, I wondered how anyone could make any money in it?’

That was before he decided to join Tcam Asset Management, however: a decision he says has renewed his ambition for wealth management. The Edinburgh-based firm hired the UBS alumni to spearhead its expansion into London, building a branch in the capital

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Walker Crips' Crispin Cripwell plugs regional gap

Given his name, Crispin Cripwell might have been fated to one day join Walker Crips. That he did so in April was surely an example of nominative determinism in action.

In actuality, his appointment was part of a growing trend in wealth management of companies seeking to plug regional gaps with small satellite offices.

‘Walker Crips has over a dozen regional offices around the UK but it has a bit of a gap around the home counties and the west of London, and Newbury is within the Berkshire-Hampshire affluent area,’ says Cripwell.

That is why he was brought in by the firm to establish its new office on the outskirts of Newbury.

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How has Investec Leeds succeeded where others failed?

There is a claim you hear when you travel through the Northern Powerhouse: it is very difficult to set up a wealth management business from scratch.

Even if it is ‘one of the big boys’ of wealth management, it can be a challenge, as Rowena Houston, head of Leeds at Investec Wealth & Investment, points out.

According to rivals, Investec W&I’s branch is by far the biggest in the city, although the company does not disclose regional assets under management. It has 130 staff, including 33 investment managers and four financial planners, occupying a whole building by the canal.

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