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WH Ireland hires ex-Quilter Cheviot research head and former fighter pilot

WH Ireland has bolstered its ranks with the appointment of a new research boss and a former fighter pilot.

WH Ireland hires ex-Quilter Cheviot research head and former fighter pilot

WH Ireland has bolstered its ranks with the appointment of a new research boss, alongside a former fighter pilot.

Robert Merrifield, whose CV includes a 13-year stint at Quilter Cheviot where he served as head of research and deputy chief investment officer, has been appointed head of research at WH Ireland.

Merrifield started his career as an equity analyst and went on to manage the Majedie investment trust and Hansard Global’s equity funds.

He also worked at Legal & General, where he led the collective funds research proposition and governance team, which oversaw £62 billion in assets.

‘I'm looking forward to joining the team at WHIreland as it restructures, and then working with colleagues to help grow the business,’ Merrifield said.

WH Ireland head of wealth management Stephen Ford (pictured) added: 'Robert’s previous experience of building and managing research within retail wealth management environments will be incredibly valuable as we reshape our proposition.' 

At the same time former fighter pilot Tony Hanlon has joined the business as a strategic business support analyst from HSBC.

Hanlon will reunite Ford, who he worked alongside at Brewin Dolphin. 

He started his career at Boston Consulting Group before moving to Brewin, where he spearheaded the launch of the firm’s robo proposition. For the last three years he has led a team of internal strategy consultants at HSBC, which had the mission of putting the customer experience at the heart of retail banking and wealth management.

The appointments come after Wealth Manager revealed last month that WH Ireland had axed seven roles in a major restructure of its business led by chief executive Philip Wale.

The decision was made after the firm had issued two profit warnings in the space of a few weeks earlier in the year, which sent its share price crashing.

The firm subsquently launched a £5 million placing in March, which was backed by existing investors, including M&G Recovery manager Tom Dobell and Polygon Global Partners hedge fund boss Reade Griffith, along with staff.

Hanlon said: 'Our customers and stakeholders have shown their faith in the business and it is up to us to deliver on those expectations.

'The challenge will be to retain the best of our historical strengths whilst modernising to meet the needs of today's customers.' 

Ford added: 'I am delighted that we have been able to attract someone of Tony’s calibre to the firm and I am very much looking forward to working with him again

WH Ireland also lost a number of leading figures from it business, who have quit to join rival firms. The most recent of these was Bristol boss Nick Lamb, who has joined Quilter Cheviot.

At the same time the business had made a series of hires, including former Heartwood boss Simon Lough, who joined as non-executive director.

Ford said Merrifield and Hanlon would both have 'an important part to play in our change program and future strategy'. 

Elsewhere WH Ireland confirmed the departure of Jonathan Carey, who stood down on 13 May. 

'The board thanks Jonathan Carey for his excellent contribution to the company and wishes him well for the future,' Wale said.

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