Not many people can truly live by the phrase ‘life’s a beach’ but at EQ Investors, a reconstructed ‘beach’ at its new office on Lower Thames Street gets staff one step closer. Reclining in a deckchair on the decking beneath a pink parasol, the team at Jon Spiers’ new venture can gaze out across an impressive view of the river. But not for too long, as there is plenty to keep them busy.
Suzie Bliss caught up with director Angus Branfield and client director William Sallitt to find out how the firm came into being and how it differentiates itself from its peers
Launched in October last year, EQ Investors was born out of a long established business.
‘In 2012, Truestone acquired Argent, a small firm offering mainly discretionary services’ Sallitt told me. ‘Two years later the top two at the Truestone Group wanted to sell off the core financial services part.
‘Although several companies were being lined up, it was fortunate timing that John Spiers was on the lookout for such an opportunity.’
Spiers had sold his previous enterprise Bestinvest to 3i in 2007. He bought 100% of Truestone’s equity and rebranded the firm as EQ.
Sallitt added: ‘Bringing in a discretionary service on top of advisory was a natural step to improve our offering for the benefit of clients.’
The investment team
There are six full-time analysts in the investment team.
‘Research responsibilities are split between the analysts by both geography and asset class,’ says Branfield. ‘The analysts present their chosen funds to our fund selection committee in order to agree an approved list.
‘A further committee makes tactical decisions to our asset allocation, and our investment management committee meet quarterly to discuss future investment direction for the firm.’
Unique selling point?
EQ has a range of portfolios as well as additional offerings.
‘As well as our core risk adjusted portfolios, we have our Positive Impact Portfolios. They invest with a socially responsible bias,’ said Branfield.
‘It’s not about screening out sectors, for example not investing in tobacco, but about the funds we do invest in having a positive impact, by actively seeking to deliver either environmental or social improvements, as well as being good financial investments.’
Combining this with the experience of the firm’s founder is helping EQ stand out. ‘Our Positive Impact Portfolios are one of our unique selling points. I’d also say that the background and experience of John Spiers owning the business and driving it forward is invaluable for the growth of EQ.’
Asked what the future holds for the firm, Sallitt replied: ‘EQ plans to launch EQ Direct, which will offer basement level entry for clients with smaller amounts of money from £10,000.
‘This isn’t a client-facing service but their investments are managed on a discretionary basis. It is an easier and more straightforward process, with lower costs for the client.’
And what about expanding the team? ‘There are no immediate plans to recruit extra analysts,’ Branfield said.
‘We have just taken on some new recruits so we are concentrating on bedding them into the team.’
He added that the investment team does not have specific new business investment targets.
‘They manage portfolios, which financial planning consultants bring in, for the business as a whole [but] one of our objectives is to attract other advisers to use us as a discretionary portfolio manager via platforms.’
EQ in numbers:
EQ manages c£500 million of clients’ assets for over 1,000 active clients
DFM funds under management: c£260 million
Average DFM portfolio size: c£500,000
If you would like to arrange a meeting, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org