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Wealth Adviser Profile: Simon Lough

by James Phillipps on May 06, 2009 at 11:01

There is no question of Heartwood resting on its laurels, however, and its ambitious plans to grow the business have been underlined by a string of recent high profile appointments. Approaching 60, David Lough decided to step back and passed the reins to Simon last year, taking the position of chairman. Simon immediately set about broadening the management team.

Noland Carter, who was previously the chief executive and chief investment officer at Rothschild Private Management, joined as CIO last May, and he was soon followed by his colleague Scott Ingham, who is now an investment director.

On the sales and marketing side, Guy Hudson joined as head of client services from BNY Mellon Asset Management, where he headed its international distribution business, and the firm also poached Hugh Tottenham as business development director from GAM, where he worked in a similar role.

Carter set about revamping Heartwood’s investment process taking a multi-asset approach, targeting cash plus 2% as its central position, albeit with the ability to tweak for individual clients’ needs. At the start of this year, Carter also moved the firm away from holding direct equities and bonds, to focusing on collective vehicles, including hedge funds, unit trusts, investment trusts and ETFs but with the ability to overlay this with option strategies.

In the next quarter, its investment process will be rolled out into the wider market, where Lough feels there is strong demand from advisers who have previously been unable to access family office-style fund management services.

Tottenham will spearhead the group’s push into the wider market and Lough says both his and Hudson’s appointments are instrumental to getting its message out to a much wider audience.

‘Our greatest weakness has been our distribution. We are very well known in a very narrow band and the strategic challenge is to break out of that,’ Lough says.

While the portfolio service is likely to bring in significant new assets, Heartwood is also looking
at other avenues to grow the business. Its focus has traditionally been on organic growth and while acquisitions are not on the cards, the firm is keen to attract quality, established advisers who can bring their own client banks over.

‘If we can find like-minded souls who can see the value not just for themselves but for their clients, then we would be very interested in having conversations with them,’ he says. ‘They would have to buy into our strong team culture and centralised investment approach however, because we are not interested in individual franchises.’

There is no doubt Heartwood is increasingly on the industry radar. It was nominated in the key
‘Image and Reputation’ category of the PAM Awards last year, alongside long-established industry giants Sarasin, Schroders and Hoare & Co.

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