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Ex-Rowan Dartington team seeks independent regulatory approval

Ex-Rowan Dartington team seeks independent regulatory approval

Alpha Portfolio Management, the third party discretionary service launched by Andrew Morris (pictured) and the team behind Rowan Dartington Signature, could soon seek its own regulatory permissions.

The company is currently run under the regulatory permissions of Bristol business RC Brown, although both parties are keen to emphasise the operational independence of the two.

‘They have a very well established proposition and a completely different “tone” to what we do,’ said Morris. ‘It’s a very institutionalised service, with a small number of high-value clients, which typically invests in collective vehicles with an emphasis on asset allocation.

‘There has been a notable change in the past three years of IFAs looking for asset allocation services and we have taken that on board in what we do, but much of what we are known for is stock picking.

‘We have the framework to provide [an asset allocation] but not many people outside of Rowan Dartington are able to offer to manage capital gains tax liabilities relating to individual stocks, for instance.’

He emphasised that the ‘six figure cost’ of obtaining a separate FSC authorisation is a ‘headache’ that he was not intending to take on for at least the next 12 months, however.  

Morris was speaking following the formal launch of Alpha Portfolio, offering a model-based service for client assets of £20,000 and above and a fully bespoke version for assets of £100,000 upwards.

While he stressed the company would have its hands full integrating the current team, he added it would be open to further recruitment in the second half of the year.

‘We have had a lot of calls saying let me know if it works out and others saying let me know if it doesn’t work out, but either way it’s nice to know people value what we do.’  

Morris, a co-founder of Rowan Dartington, left the company last year alongside senior fund manager Joe Dyer and administrators Helen Parry and Claire Hudd.  

They will be joined by former colleagues Mark Sevier, head of equity research at Rowan Dartington, and portfolio manager James Gardner, once they have served out their notice periods in February.   

Sevier will join as head of research while Gardner will become head of collectives. Dyer will be lead manager, with Morris as lead employee and head of business development.

Morris said many of the early client signings were people long aware of the team’s strength as stockpickers, meaning the company is currently running an 80/20 split toward direct equity.

‘As that settles down I would expect that even out a lot more to something like 50/50,’ he added.

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