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Profile: Magnus Spence - there are conflicts of interest everywhere you look

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by Elsa Buchanan on Mar 10, 2014 at 09:48

It was after the death of Dalton Strategic Partnership (DSP) figurehead Andrew Dalton that co-founder Magnus Spence decided to embark on a crusade to reinstate industry values that he considered lost.

Last year Spence was also named chairman of the New City Initiative (NCI), a think-tank comprising private asset management companies, to help spearhead this drive.

He recalls: ‘In 2011, we introduced the NCI to Vince Cable, the business secretary. We told him we had just over 40 privately owned members, representing £270 billion in assets. He stepped back, and thought for a while then said: “It’s really interesting because no-one ever knew the City was anything more than a small number of shiny banks in very large buildings in Canary Wharf.”

‘I recognise that in 2011, people were angry – and rightfully so – but we wanted to make a distinction with the banks.’

Spence and Dalton had formerly worked together at Mercury Asset Management in the 1990s, where they managed absolute return products for clients. They then set about launching a new venture.

It did not happen for some time, however, and Spence went on to spend two years as Merrill Lynch’s head of ultra-high net worth team before taking the leap in 2002. That year, he helped launch Dalton Strategic Partnership (DSP), a fund and wealth management business.

‘We took one client with us [from Merrill Lynch] who came along with $100 million on day one, which was enough to create a new integrated investment management firm,’ he says.

DSP today manages $2 billion in assets (£1.2 billion), of which $300 million is managed by the firm’s wealth management business.

While the Dalton name is more recognised in the fund arena, Spence says the company’s $300 million wealth management business is also an important part of its proposition.

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