Andrew Alexander is head of investment at Campbell Thomson, where his main role is to oversee its investment process, including strategic & tactical asset allocations and security selection. He graduated from Leicester university in 1995 with an honours degree in geography and has over 13 years’ experience in financial services. He is a member of the Chartered Financial Analysts Society of the UK and an Investment Management Certificate holder.
Campbell Thomson has offered specialist financial advice and financial planning across the UK for individuals and businesses since 1978. The firm is set to advise a new generation of clients.
What are the most important factors for you when selecting a discretionary manager?
Communication is paramount: the ability to sit down and talk through managers’ thoughts on the market and how they are applying them is absolutely critical. There are too many cookie-cutter and plain vanilla propositions out there. We want to deal with someone who actually has ideas about how we want our money invested and can explain how they will apply them, not just be a salesman in a sharp suit.
What are the least important factors?
A fancy website and lots of generic types of mailouts. It is not telling us or our client anything useful because it is not about their investments. The size of the business is not important. We do not want to have all our assets with a boutique where we make up half their funds, but when it comes to national firms, assets under management make very little difference.
Why did you select your current provider?
It comes back to communication. Too many managers come in and assume we are desperate for someone to take away the burden of managing money from us. Brooks Macdonald, however, came in and actually asked us how they could work within our investment process, and respected that we had views and ideas about how we want to do things.
Total assets outsourced:
Average portfolio size:
Axa Elevate, Aviva Wrap
DFMs currently used:
Quilters, Brooks Macdonald
What do you value most in a DFM?
On a scale of one to five where five is the greatest
Relationship - 4
Past performance - 1
Reporting - 3
Size of firm - 1
Strength of process - 4