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January 22, 2024

HNW Wealth Manager of the Year Ross Elder on being ‘the best, not the biggest’

Spear's Awards 2023 winner: Ross Elder won HNW Wealth Manager of the Year, in association with August

By Spear's Partners

‘We’ve always felt the ethos is about doing the best for our current clients, not trying to find where the next client will come from,’ says a softly spoken Ross Elder as he describes his approach to supporting a tight-knit set of 200 families – predominantly UK-based entrepreneurs and financiers. 

[Click here to register for updates on the Spear’s Awards 2024]

Values in alignment

With 17 of these, he and his colleagues share their success. The clients sit alongside Elder and members of his team at Lincoln Private Investment Office as owners of the business. It’s an alignment of interests that Elder believes helps to drive the company to provide first-class service and performance, while also avoiding the bureaucracy that can ensnare larger firms. 

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‘We are not asked to hit quarterly targets – just to do our day job as well as we possibly can,’ he says. 

The closeness of the client relationships has been crucial in Lincoln’s development, Elder adds. Despite the continuing trend towards consolidation and ever greater AuM figures, Lincoln has ‘no interest’ in being among the biggest firms in the industry. Instead, Elder believes this phenomenon creates a chance for companies such as his to underscore their ‘genuine independence’. Having no external shareholders, he says, ‘allows us to really focus on our clients’ needs and desires’. And, with all team members investing their own money too, those needs and desires are strongly aligned. 

Ross Elder collected the award for HNW Wealth Manager of the Year at the Spear’s Awards 2023

‘The best, not the biggest’

That said, if the client book does grow, it’ll probably be off the back of a glowing referral. The firm says more than half of its current relationships began via introductions from clients and contacts. A nimble and tactical investment strategy – including an ‘unconventional fixed-income approach’ and a value bias in developed market equities – has borne fruit for Elder in a tough period for the industry. Even as the ARC Sterling Steady Growth index recorded average losses of 10.2 per cent in 2022, Lincoln’s clients were shielded from the worst of the damage. The firm’s core portfolio fell by only 4.3 per cent over the same period. 

[See also: the nominees for HNW Wealth Manager of the Year at Spear’s Awards 2023]

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A new online client portal has also allowed Elder to communicate faster and give clarity to clients over their tax affairs and investments. Meanwhile, a ‘responsible investing’ approach is baked into the business.

Lincoln has been a signatory of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment for ‘some time’, while the firm has also just become B-Corp certified. ‘It’s the gold standard in sustainability,’ Elder notes. ‘That is more and more important to our clients, and particularly the next generation of clients.’ Over the next year, Elder affirms that Lincoln’s core ethos – ‘to be the best, but not the biggest’ — will continue to propel him forward. ‘We will do what we’re doing now, just slightly better.’ 

Click here to register for updates on the Spear’s Awards 2024

This feature is published in Spear’s Magazine Issue 90. Click here to subscribe

Cover: Cat Sims

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