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Are CEO exits positive for the wealth sector?

by Eleanor Lawrie on Apr 25, 2014 at 14:32

Are CEO exits positive for the wealth sector?

David Moyes’ exit from Manchester United has not been the only sudden departure this year.

Although it’s only spring, there have been several senior management changes in the wealth management industry that experts say could help ready firms for a changing environment.

In the last month, the chief executives of Towry and Cannacord Genuity Wealth Management (Andrew Fisher and Neil Darke, respectively) have departed. In both cases it was after they had overseen huge change, including multiple acquisitions.

These moves followed the announcement of Andy Pomfret’s retirement from Rathbones earlier this year. Under his tenure, assets under management soared by more than 160%, but after almost a decade at the helm, Pomfret said he was ready to pursue a ‘plural career’, after recruiting successor Phillip Howell, former chief executive of rival firm Williams de Broë.

To cap it off, it was announced last week that Brown Shipley executive director Bob Smoker was to leave the firm, marking the end of an era after 37 years of service.

Sebastian Dovey, managing partner at Scorpio Partnership, believes this shake-up is fitting for an industry on the cusp of a new regulatory environment.

‘The UK market is poised to take on a completely new pace of development, partly down to the retail distribution review (RDR) and the changes it will make to consumer behaviour,’ he said.

‘It’s fair to say quite a few businesses that have been doing well and have been led well up to this point have seen their management team reorganise. We are going into a new three to five-year period.’

While Dovey described Towry’s Fisher as a man whose ‘catalogue of achievements stands up against any test,’ he argued these departures are an opportunity to bring in fresh blood.

‘I’m hopeful the new personalities that come to wealth management come with a consumer-orientated, rather than a financial markets, background. We are at a stage in the industry where we have to concentrate much more on how we deliver services to the wealthy client,’ he said.

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2 comments so far. Why not have your say?


Apr 25, 2014 at 14:46

So Dovey describes Fisher as man whose "catalogue of achievements stands up against any test"?

Well, I guess that it depends what you are testing for ......... In any event, don't expect an objective hagiography of Fisher any time soon.

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Barry Bennett

Apr 30, 2014 at 16:58

Dovey has learnt a trick from Fisher - it is not what he says, but what he does not say one needs to think about and listen to!

Fisher moving on was just a function of time after mishandling acquisitions. This is and always will be a people business.

The industry is going forward and I see this as positive and much needed progress.

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