I am delighted to discover the venue for pub club (yes, I’m easily pleased) – Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. A grade II listed building which has stood for hundreds of years, having been rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. An esteemed landmark in Fleet Street, it is one of the oldest pubs in London, writes Eleanor Mahmoud.
The mastermind behind today’s spot is Jon Wingent, head of portfolio specialists at Lloyds’ Wealth Investment Office. He tells me there are not many institutions like this left nowadays and it is a popular stop for tourists.
Wingent has been at Lloyds since September 2016 and before that spent more than six years at Close Brothers. It seems this world was always the one for Wingent: ‘When I was younger, I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps – he worked in finance around the world.’
At age 18, when Wingent was living in the US, he had a job putting up party marquees to earn some cash while looking for a job in finance.
During that period, he also spent time at a money brokers. ‘After that, I got a summer job at Gartmore Fund Managers and my journey took off from there.’
We make our way downstairs to the lower vaults, minding our heads on the low ceilings, where we locate a table and bench. Underground with thick walls, it is quite cool and dark, so we get comfortable with pints of bitter and cider.
Wingent tells me about his time so far at Lloyds, saying: ‘I thought the role at Lloyds was a really interesting one to take on. I wanted a challenge and I’m really enjoying it.’
Wingent heads a team of eight, who support the private bankers and Lloyds’ primary portfolio management proposition. They are also client-facing, regularly helping clients with queries of varying complexities.
‘We have a real mix of people in the team with a good range of experience, making our knowledge more robust,’ Wingent says. ‘We don’t want to be fish swimming in the same direction – if we’re all doing the same thing or coming from the same place, there’s no rich healthy debate.’
Speaking of fish, our lunch has arrived. Fish and chips for him and scampi for myself, it is served just as I would expect in a pub such as this – with newspaper in a basket, sachets of sauce and a wonky fork.
Conversation progresses to Lloyds as a group, with Wingent telling me it ‘works hard to distinguish Lloyds as a credible wealth and investment manager, not only a banking establishment’.
With roots as a banking group, Wingent tells me how some clients have been in the group for a long time, having started their relationship with Lloyds back in the 1970s from a student bank account. Longevity is certainly encouraging, as he says, ‘they’re very loyal and have come on a journey with us’.
What about Lloyds’ investment outlook?
He explains: ‘As a UK house, Lloyds has always had a natural UK equity bias. We’ve reduced this recently though, not because we’re bearish on the UK, but because we’ve been seeing other global opportunities.’
Wingent finishes his pint of bitter and talks emerging markets. He says: ‘Emerging markets (EM) are providing interesting opportunities at the moment and are worth a closer look. The age-old commodity price correlation does not ring so true in its traditional sense as there are quality businesses and companies across EM outperforming their developed market peers.’
We discuss global opportunities in more detail, from iPhones to politics, and as we polish off our chips, Wingent adds: ‘Our business is almost entirely UK focused and we want to help our UK clients prosper, so we are keen to uncover attractive opportunities both in the UK and across the globe to help do this.’
Glass half full:
‘The continued growth and development of the investment capabilities at Lloyds. Without that sounding like a corporate line, we’re really only a couple of years old and the prospects are looking great.’
Glass half empty:
‘What’s coming in the next 10 years in terms of evolutionary technology changes. It’s not a negative stance on technology, but I think the position we’re in now reduces the opportunity set available to us. To me, the fact that Snapchat was one of the biggest IPOs this year says a lot about changes in the technology industry.’
If you would like to show us around one of your favourite pubs, email Eleanor on firstname.lastname@example.org