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Waverton’s retail fund management drive pays off

Waverton’s retail fund management drive pays off

Waverton’s move from private clients into retail fund management helped to drive profit and asset growth last year.

Assets under management rose 24% to £4.48 billion, with net inflows of £335 million in 2013, compared to £113 million the previous year.

The company highlighted that half of this increase occurred in the fourth quarter of last year, in the wake of its decision to spin out of Credit Suisse after a part-management buyout backed by Bermuda National Limited.

The management team also reorganised the business into five business groups, including funds, managed funds services and global institutional, to diversify revenues.

Fund management was a growth area with the flagship Waverton European fund, managed by AAA-rated Oliver Kelton, attracting £292 million over the year.

Pre-tax profit rose almost 7% to £7.2 million, buoyed by a £4 million rise in fee income to £26.5 million.

Earlier this year, chief executive Hugh Grootenhuis (pictured) stressed that while private clients would always be at its core, the lack of scalability when running bespoke portfolios, means strong asset growth can be more easily achieved in other channels.

In director Stephen Browne’s mind, the review also meant a push in the wealth manager’s global equity institutional platforms, in what he described as a ‘departure’ from its pure private client business, and eventual new products in its range of specialist mandates.

Linked to Waverton’s fund management push, the firm also appointed three former executives of fund groups and chairs of investment trusts to its board.

Peter Troughton, chairman of Lowland, Christopher Keljik, a director of the Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust and Vivien Gould, former deputy managing director of River & Mercantile, have all joined as non-executive directors.

In March, Waverton looked to ramp up its American business, with the hire of Lazard Capital Markets’ Andrew Vaughan-Payne as US sales director. Vaughan-Payne, who worked in US equity sales at his previous firm, will be tasked with growing Waverton’s private clients, trusts, charities and specialist mandates business in the US.

The same month, the firm hired Ian Enslin, formerly of Newton, to its charities team , led by James Pike, after taking on the 100th client last year.

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