‘In investment management you live and die by your performance,’ Alexandra Altinger tells Spear’s. She adds that at Sandaire she has found the balance between ‘robust performance and getting to know your clients really well’. Formerly of BNP securities and Goldman Sachs, the likeable CEO aims to bring bank-level clout to the firm’s multi-family office outlook. It’s been successful so far, if Altinger’s infectious enthusiasm is anything to go by. ‘We try to be young, open-minded, multicultural, forward-looking, and forward-thinking,’ she says. Altinger is mindful of the need to cater to the next generation, whom she calls ‘idealists’ keen to create a social impact: ‘They want additional functionality: to be able to access the data online, to want it now. They want 24/7 service, and they want it from wherever they are in the world.’ The role of trusted adviser has never been more important for her. ‘In some ways,’ she says, […]
Welcome to the Spear’s Indices
Each issue of Spear’s Magazine contains an exclusive Index prepared by the experts at the Spear’s Research Unit identifying the very best providers of professional services to the high net worth audience. Comprehensive, authoritative and indispensible, these are the definitive lists of the top HNW advisers in Britain working in property, family law, wealth management, tax and trust, alternative assets and reputation management. Once a year the Indices are updated and expanded to form the core of the Spear’s 500, the bible of HNW advisers. Go to the drop down menu below for the latest indices of top professionals from the Spear’s Research Unit
UHNW Wealth Managers 2017
Jonathan Bell is droll about the life of a wealth manager. Asked by Spear’s about the most memorable moment in his career, Stanhope’s CIO says: ‘The moments that I remember most vividly are some of the investments when I lost money.’ Likewise, asked where the smart money is going in 2017, he writes: ‘If it is smart we will only find out afterwards.’ Humorous as he is, there’s also a serious point there – and Spear’s finds his ability to delve beneath the jargon of the industry refreshing. Besides, it’s obviously working for him. Bell has around 25 clients, made up of both wealthy families and UK charities. His clients, he says, ‘are comfortable with exposure to quoted equities and unquoted real estate, private equity and private credit’. These clients benefit from Bell’s intellectual nature: when not investing, he can likely be found in his library full of economic books, […]
Arizona-born Jim Bouley is an industry sage. When Spear’s asks him the greatest lesson he has learned, he says: ‘Never get complacent. Don’t underestimate the element of surprise, whether they’re markets, events or politics: there’s always something that impacts on the work we do every day.’ Fortunately, 2016 didn’t bring any rude surprises to the former Merrill Lynch man’s territory. Although there’s no doubt that Brexit, the US election and a wave of right-wing populism have affected markets and the world economy, he says his clients’ portfolios have been fortified by Julius Baer’s ‘global investment outlook’, preventing any financial ripples. This safety net has resulted in a ‘positive impact’, driving ‘significant growth’ in assets under management. He credits his committed team of eight for the success – a tight-knit group which has a long history of working together at Mercury and at Merrill Lynch. ‘We have long-standing client relationships, a […]
UHNWs are hardly short of private bankers offering their services these days. But Roddy Boulton – one of the most successful and respected among them – is clear about what clients want: a network. For Boulton, the job is more about ‘the ability to collaborate and partner with clients’ than it is about a ‘certain amount of performance over another bank over the course of a limited period of time’. Nor can the importance of providing UHNWs with access to other UHNWs be underestimated: ‘Clients really want to lever off that, and to know other people in that sphere,’ he explains. Part of Credit Suisse’s eight-strong UHNW team, Boulton personally presides over $1 billion for around 20 clients, from UK-nexus entrepreneurs to family offices. He is able to offer an unusually dynamic and nimble, boutique-like offering within a global giant. ‘Private banking is a distinctly different thing from pure wealth […]
‘There is no time to reflect. Lots to do,’ exclaims Richard Brass, Berenberg’s head of UK wealth and asset management who has had six busy years at the firm. Brass qualified as a chartered accountant at KPMG before beginning his career in corporate finance, co-founding the European office of Compass Advisers. He then spent two years in emerging markets with Montpellier Asset Management. Brass joined Berenberg from Schroders in 2011. ‘Our wealth management delivers discretionary, advisory and custody/execution services specialising in direct investing. We are open architecture although our globally leading equity and economic research offers a competitive advantage. Our asset management specialises in quantitative investment solutions for professional and institutional clients,’ he explains, praising the bank for its strong culture of accountability and teamwork. ‘Many will look for a mix of investment services with Berenberg, which is where our versatility and services quality add value.’ He also notes a […]
After a ‘meandering’ career which has taken him from teaching in China to hedge funds via the civil service and a Westminster think tank, John Butters joined Weatherbys in 2016. He has since set up an in-house investment service specialising in passive portfolios and ‘smart beta’. He is passionate about a rational, academic approach to portfolio construction. ‘Everyone talks about stock selection and tactical asset allocation, whereas it’s just about getting the right components in your portfolio to start with,’ he says. Butters has also written a book, Rational Macro, which applies philosophy and modern science to market forecasting.
Kleinwort Hambros is the result of an ambitious merger and is using that momentum to push for a bigger wealth management offering. At the core of this sits CIO Mouhammed Choukeir, who tells Spear’s that it’s the best time to drive forward a more robust investment approach, with the emphasis on a ‘star process rather than a star manager’. It’s certainly gaining clients’ trust. Choukeir’s clients can rest assured that their decision-making structures are deeply entrenched in the firm, and ‘not subject to any key person risk’. He explains that clients ‘have great appreciation for an approach driven by scrupulous investment beliefs, as opposed to someone making a subjective judgement’. The former Morgan Stanley multi-asset head adds that the firm’s approach is always ‘rooted in financial evidence’. Choukeir also notes that his eclectic clientele is becoming savvier. It’s a welcome challenge for the competitive Choukeir, a triathlete who enjoys endurance […]
‘My clients are typically UK or Irish residents who are self-made, worldly and very wealthy individuals and their families looking for sound and practical advice on managing their wealth,’ says Giles Crowe. Crowe, a senior private banker at Citi since 2005, focuses on the UK onshore and offshore UHNW market. His 30-year career has included spells at Coutts, Merrill Lynch, and Barclays Private Bank. Although Crowe has seen some ‘Brexit overhang’, he also sees London’s place remaining central in terms of servicing European and Middle Eastern wealth. In fact, in terms of flux, he’s more concerned by the uncertainty around the proposed changes to non-dom tax rules which were due to take effect from 6 April but were removed from the Finance Bill, leaving many in limbo. He had been busy shepherding clients through the proposed changes. This is not to say there have been no headaches over Brexit. ‘Unknowns […]
Etienne d’Arenberg cites two highlights in 2016: Brexit and Mirabaud’s new London branch, which opened weeks after the UK voted to leave the EU. ‘In fact, they had nothing to do with each other,’ he says, laughing. ‘The point is we could have waited to open the branch but we wanted to show confidence in the UK market.’ D’Arenberg has been with the bank for 18 years, each day of which has been a joy ‘because you are talking to people, not to numbers. We develop relationships’. He explains that the trick is to keep it simple: ‘It shows firstly that you have understood and gives the person in front of you a chance of understanding.
‘Our dedicated client research is of exceptional quality and covers all areas of the market,’ says Alice d’Esparbes. The adviser has witnessed a trend in banks recognising ‘millennials’ and female clients as ‘key influencers’ in wealth creation. The director tells us the bull market is making clients anxious but this is unlikely to deter serious investors. ‘Equity markets have rallied but so have earnings, global growth is robust and PMI indices are all in expansion territory,’ says d’Esparbes. ‘I don’t think the market is cheap, but if an investor has a long-term investment horizon, they should still be looking to invest in the market rather than stay in cash.’
Dina de Angelo has spent her entire career as a private banker, working with large families and family offices – substantial clients with complex, global requirements and a demand for seasoned service. She describes 2016 as a ‘really excellent’ year, rich with some of the most interesting and complicated work of her career. She highlights the firm’s Global Fiduciary Mandate – ‘a highly technical, very complex’ option for large clients with substantial wealth, who need somebody to oversee numerous asset managers. You could say it’s been a long time coming: ‘For me, it’s been a dream to pursue, because it’s exactly what large clients need,’ she explains. ‘Often the patriarch has hired all these different managers over his lifetime and had been watching what all those different managers were doing. At a certain point that becomes very cumbersome for one individual.’ Pictet may or may not be managing the money, […]
‘Brexit or no Brexit, clients want to have long-term direct assets that fit their real estate asset allocation,’ says John Derrick. Derrick, a managing partner who leads a team of seven advisers focused on UHNWs and single-family offices, is mindful of the inter-generational nature of the job, and often works with family members across three generations, providing their core investment management, liquidity management, and direct trading. The past year has been about continuing to drive the private assets focus prevalent among clients: co-investment vehicles in alternative debt structures and direct real estate remain areas of opportunity. Derrick explains the breadth of the offering to Spears: ‘Working with our colleagues in the corporate bank we can provide a comprehensive solution for them with flexible debt structures that permit the building out of their portfolios.’ Since joining Barclays from Lombard Odier in 2011, Derrick has become passionate about the brand. ‘Every day […]
If you were looking to navigate the labyrinth that is wealth management, the chances are someone would recommend that you speak to William Drake. One of the most experienced hands in the industry, Drake co-founded Lord North Street with Adam Wethered in 2000 before selling the business to Sandaire in 2014. The duo have teamed up again this year, this time joined by fellow City stalwart Andrew Wimble to launch Owl Private Office – a strategic consultancy that promises to join the dots for time-short UHNWs, wealthy families and endowments. Drake is clear on its raison d’être. ‘The landscape has changed; it’s harder for wealthy families to get the overarching advice that they need from people, with no conflicts of interest,’ he explains. The new firm casts a wide gaze: it is equally adept at coordinating teams of advisers, establishing a dedicated single family office, or simply holding to account […]
‘In 15 years, UBS has moved from asset gatherer to investment manager,’ says Tim Eastwood. ‘But post-crisis we’ve reinvented ourselves. We aim to deliver – helping clients to preserve and grow their wealth: keeping clients rich, not making them rich.’ UBS is undoubtedly ahead of the pack, but that has its challenges. Eastwood explains: ‘The GDP of India is going to be transferred to the next generation in the next 15 to 20 years. Being the leading incumbent of those assets, we have over 50 per cent of the world’s billionaires as clients.’ An enviable position – but Eastwood knows that high numbers of divorcees and young clients eventually elect to leave their wealth managers. UBS is looking to engage young clients in its Unlimited platform and female clients with its dedicated site Unique. A commitment to philanthropy completes the picture. ‘We want to make UBS part of our clients’ […]
Rusty Elvidge is without doubt one of the leading figures at Credit Suisse, having been in its London UHNW private banking arm since it was formed in 2010. This followed a 15-year stint on the bank’s investment banking side, where he was co-head of global foreign exchange. His largely Europe-based clients are usually entrepreneurs worth £250 million to £5 billion. Elvidge describes his client base to Spear’s: ‘They are very interesting people. For someone to have been that successful they need to have taken a lot of risk. They’re very different from old money: most of them are happy with a large amount of risk.’ He is succinct about his approach to open architecture: ‘Whatever’s best in the marketplace.’ He is more expansive on market trends: ‘Yields have dropped and people are willing to take more risk. A lot of the clients set themselves rates of return of 8-10 per […]
Dominic Epton has made a zigzag journey into wealth management, beginning his career at law firm Ashurst before joining Rothschild’s investment banking arm. By 2011 he had moved across to the wealth management side. No doubt Epton is helped by his corporate finance background. A recent highlight was winning (over) a new client with a shared vision of long-term business ownership, after he had previously been told ‘in quite colourful language, what [the client] thought of the wealth management industry’. For Epton, who is also a keen cyclist (‘Having now hit 40, I have to confess to a love of lycra’), there are obvious benefits to a family-run business which not only understands intimately what it is to have wealth, but also has the patience to pursue a far-sighted strategy: ‘We can invest time building individual client relationships and ensuring that trust in our firm is maintained for the future.’ […]
Rémi Frank joined the BNP Paribas group as a trader, later becoming head of Asia FX options in Paris, Singapore, and then Tokyo. Now head of BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s key client group and professional banking based in Paris, he created and developed the French giant’s capital markets derivative products, then headed up sales and structuring for business equities and derivatives, before joining BNP Paribas Wealth Management in 2010. Under Frank’s leadership, the firm is committed to raising awareness about philanthropy, while French BNP Paribas private banking backs Women Equity for Growth, promoting women in business.
While many wealth managers may resent the volatility arising out of Brexit and the US elections, London & Capital’s co-founder is thankful for the shake-up in the markets. ‘The more volatile and uncertain, the better,’ he has told Spear’s, ‘because we only run capital preservation strategy – people want safety, and that’s exactly what we have.’ The SEC-regulated firm is one of the few wealth managers able to look after US nationals in the UK. While managing the money of Hollywood stars, Freedman noticed a gap in the market. He set up the firm’s US family office in London in the late 1980s and now the US division accounts for nearly a third of the firm’s AuM.
‘Clients want insight,’ says Nick Green, who joined Coutts from JP Morgan in 2004, rising swiftly to become a senior adviser before joining the private office. Many clients come to him after selling a business: ‘These people go from something familiar and tangible, which they know and understand, to something that’s alien, because suddenly you’ve got a lot of money in the bank but you’re not used to it.’ Green was at university when a presentation by Coutts inspired him to go into the business. ‘I figured, “There must be a way of doing this for a living because I really love it,” and when the opportunity to join Coutts arose I jumped at it,’ he recalls.
JP Morgan’s newly risen star Aastha Gurbax is personable, articulate and a breath of fresh air – useful traits to have when dealing with a versatile client base comprising new money creators, key TMT players and large UK family offices. ‘There’s a new breed of entrepreneurs looking for dynamism, flexibility and efficiency when it comes to wealth management,’ the executive director and senior banker says. That’s why the private bank is set to spend around $9 billion in technology innovation, with over $100 million in 2017 for digital strategy in asset management. ‘It would enable clients to engage with us how and when they want – it’s incredibly beneficial for these times,’ explains Gurbax. Although the past year has seen political storms, the Spear’s Young Wealth Manager of the Year for 2016 has been nimble in fortifying portfolios. With a ‘focus on fundamentals’, Gurbax seeks creative solutions by turning to […]
Andrew Hess is in his 18th year at Rathbones and has built an impressive book of business, managing discretionary investment portfolios for private individuals, their pensions, trusts and charities – as well as managing investments for City livery companies. ‘Hess is the big name there,’ says one observer. Hess manages a London team with £5 billion of assets. ‘It has been an eventful year,’ Hess tells Spears. ‘Clients’ portfolios are diversified and therefore able to weather short-term volatility, and our investment managers have had access to a vast amount of proprietary research that has helped to anticipate and plan for some of the ups and downs.’ A member of Rathbones’ fixed income, macro and credit fund selection committee and a fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, Hess has more than 25 years in the industry. Even so, he’s still looking to the future: ‘Brexit aside, at the […]
A peer observes: ‘Charlie Hoffman is unmatched at providing a personal service while leveraging a huge organisation.’ When Spear’s speaks to Hoffman, the totemic wealth manager is recuperating from a snapped Achilles tendon: ‘I do lots of dangerous sports, sky-diving being one of them – and this was done hopping from one foot to another on the tennis court. But I’m of a pretty sunny disposition,’ he laughs. In fact, Hoffman remains undiminished, a figure of bonhomie, intelligence and charm. And no such injury, one feels, could prevent his book of business from growing year in, year out. ‘We were pleased with the amount we took on last year,’ he says. ‘More importantly, our discretionary portfolios have delivered really good returns. Some of that was due to a positive skew to dollar assets. We also did a lot of really interesting private equity deals.’ Hoffman sees certain challenges ahead: ‘Diversification […]
Nick Hornby co-founded Cerno with CIO James Spence when the pair (who Hornby reckons have sat together in ‘at least 10,000’ meetings with fund managers) raised £25 million from friends and family in 2006-07. The duo were then approached by two UHNWs looking for management of £180 million made from selling their financial services business in 2008: it was a significant moment for the Mayfair boutique, which quickly went from a small business with £25 million and four staff to having more than £200 million in AuM. Cerno is now at an ‘important stage’, explains the affable and astute Hornby: indeed, the firm continues to grow, thanks not least to the CEO’s skill at forming relationships, as well as his attention to detail. ‘Clients are happy – people like the fact they are able to have access to James and myself as the two managing partners,’ he says. Hornby highlights […]
‘Despite the challenges that Brexit will bring, London is well positioned to thrive from a wealth management perspective,’ says Clement Hutton-Mills. This optimistic note is tempered with a certain caution, however. ‘In what is likely to be a lower return environment in the future,’ he explains, ‘clients may increase their focus on service levels, over and above investment returns.’ Hutton-Mills was starting out at Rothschild as the financial crisis hit, and he attributes his reassuring approach ‘to the ethos here that stems from the firm’s family involvement, and which means that we are genuinely focused on our clients’ long-term needs and objective at all times.’
Rehmet Kassim-Lakha, managing director and a senior banker at JP Morgan, enjoys an impressive international client base rich with financial backgrounds. ‘Net worth is generally substantial,’ she says, ‘and I would say it’s anywhere between £30 million and very far north of that.’ Eloquent and quick, Kassim-Lakha is aware of the need to stay ahead of the curve, not least because of a volatile geopolitical situation which has some clients anxious. ‘I do genuinely feel this space is getting smaller and smaller in terms of finding solutions and people worry about those kinds of things – including the security of their assets, and security of advice,’ she explains. But geopolitical risk, concerning as it is, is something for the wealth manager to navigate. ‘The core valuation of a company is not going to change on the back of a tweet,’ she explains, adding that her job is to remain true […]
Jeremy Knowland’s first foray into wealth management came on his 14th birthday, when his father gave him a selection of share tipster sheets, hoping to educate him on the markets. He sank his savings into an Australian gold mining company: ‘I chose it for all the wrong reasons — it was cheap, as in 12p, so I thought therefore it must be good. By absolute fluke, nine months later they thought they had found the largest gold seam ever and the 12p share price went to £1.50.’ A £240 investment thus gave him a return of £3,000. Fluke or not, it began a career that now sees Knowland head up Citi’s UHNW clients – a role with strong client focus. For instance, each banker has between 20 and 30 clients, and all had received a phone update by 11.30 the morning after the Brexit vote, he says. Knowland has had […]
Few bankers enjoy the same trust and respect among the UK’s growing number of South-East Asian UHNW residents as Amit Kotha, and this gives the Canadian bank a clear edge. Indeed, his books have seen ‘around 30 per cent’ growth in the past year – a remarkable achievement, especially when that reflects increased wallet share among existing clients. ‘The majority of wealth managers will focus on gaining as many clients and relationships as possible, but what they don’t realise is that they are spreading themselves too thin,’ he says. ‘Clients are not stupid – clients understand who is giving them the right attention… And you can’t do that if you have too many.’ Kotha highlights RBC’s ‘one-bank’ approach, by which the bank caters to a growing number of its ‘über-ultra’ clients looking for a streamlined service. He is helped in this by his trusted adviser status and ‘generalist’ remit that […]
‘The level of integrity, transparency and professionalism in the industry has improved out of all recognition,’ says Kate Leppard, reflecting on how the wealth landscape has changed during her 26 years in financial services. Cazenove’s deputy head of wealth management says the firm has always been proactive and prepared when it comes to high standards of compliance. It’s a fine balance between adapting to ‘absolutely huge’ regulatory changes and achieving ‘first-class investment returns’ for clients – but Leppard is unfazed. Beneath her cool demeanour lies a steadily growing book of clients with ‘complex’ structures in various jurisdictions. ‘We can tailor that institutional approach to a very bespoke private client wealth approach,’ she enthuses. Increasingly business-aware scions whom Leppard describes as ‘social entrepreneurs in their own right’ are making the shift to the next generation easier. But helping the generational transition is what she finds most satisfying. Leppard recalls an elderly […]
As UK head of Russia, CIS & Eastern Europe at Pictet Wealth Management, Elena Lileeva is a trusted adviser to some of the wealthiest people in London: UHNWs from Eastern Europe. ‘The most important thing is to win their trust – sometimes it’s a very long process,’ she says. But once that happens, business beckons – as do the more esoteric frills that distinguish her Russian clients beyond wealth management needs: ‘It’s the small details, like when they ask you to help bring their dog somewhere,’ she chuckles, ‘or to find a nanny or a photographer, or when they trust you for advice on their children’s education – that’s when you know you have their trust.’
The past five years have been a ‘golden time’ for entrepreneurs, Perry Littleboy says. ‘Today there’s an awful lot of capital around, and a lot of encouragement from government, a lot of favourable tax incentives for entrepreneurs.’ However, he does see business owners ‘receiving an indigestible chunk of wealth’ and succumbing to rash decisions influenced by friends, family and even strangers. ‘They’ll start tugging at their sleeve, saying, “Invest in my commercial property enterprise, invest in my business; I’ll look after your money.”’ The affable Littleboy aims to help clients ‘craft a vision as to what their wealth is for, and most importantly what it’s not there for’.
Technology is ubiquitously touted as the latest game-changer for wealth management, but Darren McDermott takes a more nuanced view: clients want the personal touch, even if it means speaking to an adviser over the phone while perusing portfolios on the latest apps and gadgets. ‘Time is a very precious commodity,’ he says – particularly for UHNWs, who have spent an ‘interesting and eventful’ year on the markets preparing for a raft of possible scenarios. ‘A lot of our clients are business owners, and they’re busy,’ he says. ‘It might be when they’re having a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning, they go on their iPad to discover the latest thoughts from JP Morgan on their portfolio, download specific information on investments. It’s all about easy access, and what’s convenient for them.’ The Irishman has spent his career earning clients’ trust, offering innovative solutions to protect their capital and ensuring […]
It’s not often that women come back to a career in financial services after an 11-year break, but Helen McDonald returned to UBS two years ago, having previously had long stints (mainly at Goldman Sachs) in equity sales and asset management. ‘I was lucky that UBS were willing to give me the chance,’ she says. ‘The combination of an enlightened senior management and a very supportive team helped me settle back in.’ McDonald sits in the bank’s charities business, providing investment advice to a range of philanthropic individuals and not-for-profits, helping lead the charge on sustainable investing. ‘We are huge believers in incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into investment analysis,’ she says. So what are the considerations for the philanthropic side of wealth management? ‘It depends on the client’s objectives and the charity structure – many have long-term time horizons which afford them opportunities in the way they manage […]
A senior banker who holds one of Barclays’ ‘largest client books’, Robert McIntyre is proud of the ‘very long-established, eclectic and prestigious’ mix of UHNWs he deals with. As MD he gets to ‘unlock the uncommonly wide range and depth of service’ across the bank. ‘We are evenly balanced across the gamut of banking and investment services,’ he explains. Can the industry keep up with the sophistication required? ‘A theme of my lifetime has been the rise of advisory work which suits the entrepreneur who naturally seeks to be engaged in the decision-making process, but the industry struggles with how to deliver this in a crisp and compliant manner,’ he reflects.
James Morrell, a director and client adviser at the family firm, is clear about the challenges the industry faces. ‘In the short-term Brexit is an obvious source of near-term uncertainty and complexity for our clients.’ And in the long term? ‘Adapting to each generation’s requirements.’ ‘There is no such thing as a typical client, but there are commonalities,’ he adds. ‘They are often first or second-generation-wealthy, entrepreneurs, and looking to us to preserve and grow the real value of their wealth.’ Morrell knows nothing can be taken for granted. ‘Working for a US broker dealer during the 2007-08 crisis was character-building,’ he tells Spear’s.
As a standout partner within Stonehage Fleming, Scott Oliphant is responsible for a slew of its most important clients. The firm is proud to have one of the lowest client-to-manager ratios, complemented by fiduciary specialism and international expertise. ‘We are in the business of servicing UHNWs and each of our business units exists to do just that, rather than to distribute products,’ Oliphant has told Spear’s. Oliphant has a special focus on client engagement and developing client services. ‘Our clients materially benefit from our experiences and knowledge in advising wealthy individuals and families,’ he says.
Goldman Sachs might have a more restrictive policy than most when it comes to granting journalists access to its people, but there’s no hiding from the Spear’s Index. A first-choice private banker to UHNW entrepreneurs, City bigwigs and landed families, Giles Pascoe garners plenty of praise from peers, despite a top-down, heads-down approach to publicity. A co-chair of Goldman’s EMEA advisory council, he leads a formidable investment unit on Goldman’s private wealth management team based in London and also has responsibility for developing the firm’s institutional client solutions business, working with UK-based charities, foundations and endowments. Credited by industry experts as ‘brilliant’ for his rare combination of expertise and bedside manner, Pascoe has forged an enviable reputation over the past 12 years managing portfolios for individual and institutional private clients from the firm’s London HQ. Working for a financial giant that can boast £1.4 trillion global assets under supervision (and […]
Nandu Patel is known for his charities work, so he’s well placed at Rothschild, which has 80 charity clients. ‘Most of our charities are trying to achieve inflation plus 3-4 per cent per annum returns,’ he says. His charity clients are increasingly engaged on the subject of socially responsible and impact investing. ‘Charities’ investment managers need to be even more active on ESG matters, as well as documenting their voting decisions,’ says Patel. The Liverpool FC fan relishes being part of a family-owned firm: ‘Our 200-year heritage and family-controlled ownership enables us to take a long-term view,’ he says.
‘It’s been one of those strange years where we are constantly exceeding clients’ expectations,’ says Guy Paterson, who joined Stanhope in 2010, as he describes the double-digit returns his portfolios have yielded. That was partly due to the sterling drop. But short-term gains should never lead to complacency, he argues: ‘We have to keep reminding clients that it won’t always be like this.’ Clients have another reason to trust the Oxford graduate, since he has his own capital invested alongside clients. His most satisfying moment last year was designing a ‘complex restructure’ of assets in preparation for the non-dom reforms.
‘A good wealth manager has a business model that is as aligned to the genuine interests of the clients as possible, removes as many conflicts as possible, and is absolutely mindful of whose capital it is,’ says Rupert Phelps, partner for family office services at Smith & Williamson. Phelps, a family office veteran who has worked in the area of ‘substantial private capital’ throughout his career in finance, joined from Savills in January 2017. He was formerly London head of family office services at BNY Mellon. He specialises in giving strategic advice on family governance, succession planning, setting up single family offices and next generation preparation, something he has been doing with relish and skill for two decades. Dealing with business-owning families is particularly interesting, Phelps says: ‘They may not be rich in terms of lifestyle or income or cash generation, but their assets are growing in terms of enterprise […]
‘Beyond our traditional wealth management business, Stanhope is also a club of like-minded co-investors who are often entrepreneurs themselves. They bring more than money but also the intelligence, the network, the energy to actually re-engineer businesses and we are the platform where we put these investors together.’ So says Daniel Pinto, the softly spoken CEO of Stanhope. To spend time with Pinto is to encounter not just a wealth manager, but a philosopher too. The author of the acclaimed book Capital Wars speaks engagingly and authoritatively about the world. Pinto’s clients are a mix of those who ‘aim to generate about 6-7 per cent without taking excessive risks’ and those who are prepared to be more adventurous. Such clients will usually go down the private equity or real estate routes towards ‘projects when it’s not about sitting tight and waiting for coupons or dividends to be paid out’. The volatility […]
Whatever happened to all those Barclays executives of the Bob Diamond era? The answer is that several went on to set up Saranac. Proger joined up with the old gang after a stint at Mirabaud. ‘It’s by far the highest-quality team I’ve worked with in the 18 years I’ve been doing this job,’ he tells Spear’s. Saranac embraces technology, aiming for a ‘nimble’ operation by ditching ‘central legacy systems that date back to the Eighties and the Nineties’. ‘There’s a freshness to it, which means it feels different immediately from the get-go,’ says the engaging Proger. Such upgrades are, he adds, what tech-savvy clients are hungry for these days.
Having studied law at Oxford and history at Harvard, and with an MBA from INSEAD, Khaled Saïd is one of the best-qualified wealth managers in the country. But it’s his ability to understand his clients’ needs that sets him apart. Before co-founding Capital Generation Partners, the son of the entrepreneur Wafic Saïd ran the investment operations of his own family office. ‘Having spent time on the buying side, I learned to think like an investor,’ he says. CapGen serves around a dozen UHNW clients, between families and endowments. ‘We have a very niche business providing highly bespoke services to this group, and we won’t dilute what we do by pooling smaller portfolios or cramming them into a one-size-fits-all fund.’ Saïd was voted asset manager of the year for UHNWs at the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards in 2014. The firm has invested in IT and systems to improve reporting. It has […]
Oliver Selwyn describes Banque Havilland as ‘a family office with a banking licence’. It prides itself on being both ‘pragmatic’ and ‘flexible’, founded with the express intention of being traditional and conservative. Because the Rowland family has its money in the bank, clients can co-invest with them, something the product-focused big banks can’t offer. ‘We’re not constrained by in-house products or layers and layers of bureaucracy, and we can make decisions very quickly,’ says Selwyn. It was the breadth of his experience and ability which led the family to poach Selwyn from Citi Private Bank in 2013. Spear’s doubts they regret it.
‘We’re committed to growing in a steady way,’ says Patrick Smiley, partner and head of institutional at Smith & Williamson. ‘Too many mergers and acquisitions and the like create great instability in firms, both culturally and indeed for clients and staff. We’ve been a very stable home in this process.’ Nominated for Spear’s UHNW Asset Manager of the Year in 2014, the vivacious and friendly Scot works on behalf of private individuals, onshore and offshore trusts, and charities. The firm – which as of March counted £18.7 billion in total funds under management – provides accounting and tax advice as well as investment management. Smiley credits its ‘extremely collegiate’ partnership culture, high staff retention rates and its graduate recruitment scheme as keys to success. ‘I remember when I started, out of 150 or so fund managers there were two CFAs on the whole floor,’ he says. ‘Now it’s almost a […]
Camilla Stowell is a force in the industry with more than 20 years’ experience, having previously worked in client management roles at Lloyds Private Banking, Drummonds and Schroders Private Bank, before joining Coutts Private Office in 2007. She was appointed head of the private office and Coutts International in May 2015, where she continues to manage a portfolio of UHNW clients while overseeing the management of the businesses. Stowell has noticed a surge in enquiries from UHNWs keen to do business in the UK over the past 12 months, especially from Asia, the US and South America. Another development is Coutts Invest – a new online investment tool for clients, which feeds into a series of ‘dynamically managed’ multi-asset-class strategies using passive investments. This new venture has generated ‘extremely positive reviews’, says Stowell: ‘It suits a number of clients… providing them with full flexibility and control. It even lets me […]
There are significant challenges today for wealth creators. Stonehage Fleming’s emphasis is on succession planning. It’s a niche service which could only exist on the back of the nous of trusted advisers like Mark Sullivan. Sullivan, a senior client director in the investment management team, has previously led similar operations for UK-based families, individuals and charities at Rathbones and UBS. A chartered fellow of the CISI, he was director of Buckland Capital Partners, a single family office, before joining Stonehage Fleming in 2013. While most in the industry focus on liquidity, Sullivan and his team seek to ‘add value across the entirety of family wealth’.
Following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Iain Tait was one of the first to notice a gap in the market: many UHNWs wanted a family-office-like service without the cost and administrative burden associated with running a private advisory firm. In response, he set up London & Capital’s Private Investment Office division, which focuses on 75 of the firm’s wealthiest and most complicated clients, including many res non-doms. Tait speaks of a ‘challenging’ investment environment in 2017. He says the regulatory difficulties wealth managers face in signing clients up has ‘gone from being fiddly to having an impact on business’. He laments the time spent conferring with lawyers and accountants on restructuring instead of focusing on the meat and bones of discretionary wealth management. ‘We’re kind of in the twilight zone again – it’s been very frustrating.’ Tait personally manages around 25 of the unit’s clients, many of whom have given […]
The majority of Katharine Taylor’s clients are entrepreneurs, many of them in sports, media and entertainment. ‘They are looking for someone to protect the wealth they have worked so hard to build and are not trying to create another fortune by taking unnecessary risks,’ she explains. Formerly of HSBC, Taylor has seen a rise in family investment vehicles: ‘Clients are also seeking simplicity and transparency in their affairs – they want to be able to sleep at night.’ Her own inspiration? ‘I am a huge admirer of both Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. Their Australian Open battle illustrated the power of hard work, endurance and strong belief.’
‘The most memorable moment of my career was when a large client asked me to become a trustee of their family trust,’ says Theophanis Theophanous, showing ‘the complete trust and faith they have in me as a person’. Theophanous joined Barclays in 2011 and now heads up a team of six, in addition to running the Greece, Russia and Eastern Europe teams. Peers describe him as ‘a role model to many’ – partly because of the time he devotes to mentoring younger bankers. His client roster, he says, ‘likes transparent investments and is averse to hedge funds’. He also notes an increase in private equity transactions and direct investments in real estate.
Peter Thompson describes for Spear’s a changing world: he joined St James’s Place in 1992 (‘the 50th partner to join’) and the business has since grown to become a FTSE 100 company with AuM of £79.8 billion. Thompson’s focus is on holistic advice to clients with complex requirements, from managing wealth across generations for landed estates to top legal professionals, entrepreneurs, footballers and lottery winners. ‘Strong relationships have been forged with many of my clients over a number of years with tailored ongoing advice and support as circumstances and goals change over time,’ he says. ‘We provide broad financial planning, which involves a deep understanding of clients and their family needs and aspirations as they evolve. Through our distinctive approach to investment management, we seek out leading fund managers from around the world, monitor them robustly and if need be change them.’ The relationship-based model gives St James’s Place the […]
The Australian-born Jenny Tozer started out in the industry in 2000 by setting up a company offering investment advice to women. ‘There was a genuine gap in the market and I went in to make a difference,’ she says. It’s certainly worked: the investment manager with a focus on strategic asset allocation and portfolio construction now looks after a broad range of clients from entrepreneurs to large first, second and third-generation families. Tozer’s clients face issues from inheritance planning to the growth of a business. ‘My role is one of orchestration,’she explains, and that means ‘bringing all the advisers together around the kitchen table’. One life-affirming moment came when a client who had been widowed and inherited a vast estate went from not knowing the difference between bonds and equities to calling her up 12 years later and saying: ‘Jenny, do you think we should look at some emerging market […]
Tiffany Troxel moved to Julius Baer following its acquisition of Merrill Lynch’s non-US wealth management division four years ago. A prodigy already blessed by an impressive history at Harvard, Goldman Sachs and UBS, Troxel continues to rank in the top 1 per cent of the bank’s global advisers. Her UK clients are increasingly focused on inflation, and her American ones on rising interest rates: ‘This is quite a change – these were not concerns for many clients a few years ago.’ The fresh investments, new referrals and robust returns just keep coming. ‘I try to give the same care and attention to detail to all of my clients’ investments, as if they were my own,’ says Troxel.
Since 2015, Helen Watson has been CEO of Rothschild Wealth Management UK and it’s been a boom time for the household name firm. In a sphere where statistics are seldom illuminating, this stands out: in 2016, under Watson’s stewardship, the UK wealth management business saw a £1.3 billion increase in AuM and a 21 per cent increase in the number of UHNW clients (a ‘wealth management masterclass’, one colleague says of Watson’s work). Watson isn’t resting on these well-earned laurels either. ‘I also encourage the team to be creative,’ she says. ‘With that in mind, we’ve undertaken a variety of company visits outside our sector to look at areas where we can perhaps do things differently and improve by learning from others.’ The turbulent political situation is, for Watson, not something to panic about, but to navigate calmly: ‘I believe London continues to be seen as a centre of excellence for […]
Wealth managers may be known as a siloed, even secretive set, ever-protective of a hard-won competitive edge, but Nataša Williams sees an industry becoming more collaborative. ‘We make sure our clients are getting the best service,’ she says. ‘I think the industry is becoming much more grown-up, professional and actually quite high-quality.’ Williams joined Vestra Wealth (as it then was) in 2013 to set up the private office division, which has an AuM of £600 million and offers family office services to more than 20 of the firm’s wealthiest clients. Today, clients of the Cambridge-educated marathon runner and countryside lover – who started in M&A before moving to wealth management at UBS and Deutsche Bank – include some of the most affluent entrepreneurs, City executives and multi-generational families in the UK. Strong returns and service aside, she highlights how the firm recently co-sponsored EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year programme, gaining […]