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Profile: How Strawberry plans to shake up discretionary distribution
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by David Campbell on Jun 06, 2014 at 11:37
The company’s home in a retooled Georgian terrace house on a back street just outside the city centre might at first seem incongruous. However, Priday says it is just one of a new wave of enterprises helping Exeter to make a great leap forward from seat of county governance into the 21st century.
‘The university has been awarded a £260 million research grant and they are really pouring that into new facilities. They are looking at Oxford, Cambridge and the Silicon Fen and all of that, and really going after them, making a big play for that status,’ he says.
‘It’s very ambitious. We are going to have the fastest connections in the UK, in terms of fibre optic cables, pretty soon. [The city] is growing – you have Charles Stanley here, Rathbones, Ashcourt Rowan and Investec have just opened here.’
Prydis Wealth's history
Prydis Wealth was formed in 2010 when James’s elder brother Joe, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant, returned to Exeter to take over the family book-keeping business from their father.
Bringing a couple of clients who were too small to get much attention from his former employer but big enough to keep a small company busy, he set about relaunching the business as a full-spectrum private client firm, covering law, accountancy, corporate planning and investment.
James – who was lecturing at Exeter University as he completed a masters in finance and prepared to take a job with Ernst & Young in Bristol – was invited aboard. ‘[Joe] said to me, I’ve done the Big Four thing, and trust me, you won’t enjoy it.
‘The great thing about the business under dad was that he had a couple of FTSE 100 directors as clients and had one really high-end client who gave us the confidence to push ahead. He said that he could see we were punching hard above our weight, and he helped us with the branding and corporate side of the business.’
Investment division Prydis Wealth now manages £120 million on behalf of 450 clients, while the wider business takes care of around 800 and employs 52 staff, 10 of whom are investment specialists.