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Ex-Brooks Macdonald duo join forces to launch wealth firm

by James Phillipps on Oct 05, 2012 at 07:51

Ex-Brooks Macdonald duo join forces to launch wealth firm

Former Brooks Macdonald director James Keen has returned to the market with new venture Mountstreet Partners, which aims to provide a ‘family office-style’ service to a select number of clients.

Keen launched the firm with ex-Brooks colleague Alex Fray last month and is looking to build a portfolio of around 100-150 high net worth clients over the next three years and will then close to new business.

‘We want to run a more personalised, bespoke service for fewer, larger clients,’ Keen said. ‘We see ourselves offering a family office-type service for clients who cannot necessarily gain access to one because of the size of their portfolios.’

Mountstreet’s minimum investment level is £500,000, but he anticipates that when the firm stops taking on new clients, the average portfolio size will be £1-£1.5 million.

‘We have already taken on a fair number of clients and expect to be cashflow neutral or positive by January,’ Keen said.

Most clients are expected to be referrals from solicitors, accountants and IFAs that the pair have longstanding relationships with.

They are in the process of hiring a junior investment manager and anticipate the firm’s headcount will have risen to between six and eight by next April.

The firm blends active funds with passive funds and this, combined with outsourcing its dealing functionality to Raymond James and using Pershing as a custodian, is helping the firm to keep charges down as it scales up. Clients typically pay a 1% annual management charge.

‘We very much take an active asset allocation approach and our investment approach is to use passive funds to express our market views,’ Keen said.

Keen left Brooks Macdonald earlier this year having spent 14 years at the firm, where he was a latterly a board director and a member of both its asset allocation and investment committees.

Meanwhile Fray was a director at Brooks between November 2005 and April 2007 and woked as both company secretary and finance director.  

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