James Horniman - Spear's Magazine

James Horniman

James Hambro

James Horniman
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When Spear’s catches up with James Horniman, he tells us to call his office ‘any time after 6.30am’. A partner and portfolio manager at James Hambro since 2013, he has been in fund management for more than a quarter of a century. When we speak (at a more sociable hour), he explains he applied for his first job in wealth management ‘because I hated accountancy so much’.

‘I enjoy the combination of client service and buying and selling shares,’ he explains. ‘I also like the element of unpredictability – you never know what might be on your desk when you get in in the morning. It’s our job to bring it under control – it’s about controlling the risk for our clients.’

After stints at UBS and HSBC, he says being in a boutique requires staff of high quality: ‘Trust and respect is the same on an individual level, whether you’re in a large or a small company.’ When it comes to taking on new clients, he says the firm’s approach is ‘practical’: ‘We say a million [as a minimum stake] because it’s a nice round number, but we’d never turn away someone with several hundred thousand.’

Horniman believes the firm’s ability to buy direct equities as opposed to just funds, as well as having ‘very strong stock ideas’ and ‘just not being panicked out of markets’, have been key to its strong performance: ‘People rely on discretionary managers so that they can get on with playing golf or writing books while we position their portfolios and their money.’