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Office Spotlight: Hawksmoor, Exeter

Office Spotlight: Hawksmoor, Exeter

Location: Exeter

Date opened: 2007

Office clients: 600

Average portfolio size: £300,000

AUM: £390 million

GROUP AUM: £710 million

Top fund picks:

1. Amati UK Smaller Companies: Doug Lawson is a tremendous stock picker and this fund deserves a much wider audience. 

2. Henderson Emerging Market Opportunities: This a very high quality, well diversified and relatively small emerging markets fund, with a very experienced manager in Glen Finegan.

3. Artemis Global Select: At around £70 million, Simon Edelsten’s fund can be exceptionally nimble and we like the way the thematic construction dovetails with our modus operandi.

Q&A with Jim Wood-Smith, CIO private clients & head of research, Hawksmoor, Exeter.

What is your typical client demographic?

The South West is an increasingly dynamic and cosmopolitan economy. The typical view of Devon being a retirement home is terribly outdated and our clients are just as likely to be entrepreneurs as they are to be retirees. 

What differentiates your region?

There is a unique warmth and friendliness to the South West. The quality of life is unmatchable, even with the wet winters.

What is the best thing about your location?

There is a youthful dynamism about the city, largely because of the student population. In the past five years there has been huge investment into redevelopment and leisure in the city centre, which has a new-found buzz. Yet we are a stone’s throw from Dartmoor, the coast and some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside. 

What are the challenges facing your area? 

Exeter is outgrowing its infrastructure. The city is booming and expanding rapidly, but the roads are increasingly unable to cope. It is not many years ago when you would rarely see another soul at 7am, now the traffic is already backing up at that time. Cornwall has made superfast broadband a county policy, but rural Devon has yet to catch up.   

What is a typical regional saying? 

Is that Ben Bradshaw? 

What is your office motto?

‘What is the margin of safety?’ Experience teaches that even the best ideas can go wrong. When they do, it is better that you have not bought something that was already priced for perfection; downside protection is in our DNA.

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