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Rise of the super boutique: how will this new breed of firm fare?

by Elsa Buchanan on Apr 07, 2014 at 14:38

‘We had the good fortune of being able to grow without having to acquire other boutiques, but we remain open to other possibilities.’

This is also the case of Vestra Wealth, which has been able to grow the business organically, explained David Scott, founding and senior partner.

‘The breadth of service means that we are now an attractive alternative to the large banks for many advisers to join and for many clients to move their business to,’ he said.

‘The investment we made in the early years into offering a full back office and broadening our service capability has meant that we can grow without huge further investment.’

The boutique runs £4 billion in assets under management, with 23 partners and a total headcount of 180.

For smaller newer investment management business, the prospect of becoming a super-boutique is not on the cards just yet.

Bigger isn't always better

David MacNeil, who co-founded Castlebay Investment Partners last year, takes the view that boutique’s ambitions can differ and big does not mean better.

‘The firms [that are undergoing mergers] are great businesses, but they feel they want to rival the ultra-high net worth parts of the private banks, which is a slightly different aspiration to our current one,’ he said.

MacNeil has no ambition to merge with another boutique just yet.

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