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Wealth Adviser: Signia Wealth on building £1.5 billion in under a year
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by David Campbell on Feb 18, 2011 at 00:01
‘We no longer wish to be known as a family office. We have got too big for that. We are a wealth management boutique now,’ says Nathalie Dauriac-Stoebe, founder and chief executive of Signia Wealth Management.
Signia has grown to accommodate about 45 relationships with £1.5 billion in assets in something under a year. Being young – 32 – and female would be enough to make Dauriac-Stoebe exceptional by default in wealth management. But her personality is large enough to stand out in pretty much any walk of life.
A Queens’ College Cambridge graduate, multiple award winner and a senior client partner at Coutts at the almost unprecedented age of 26, she clearly takes life seriously. But she manifestly does not do so to the detriment of enjoying it first.
The contrast with the company’s chief investment officer Gautam Batra, whose seriousness and prepossession suits the position, is marked. Interviewing the two together requires repeated shifts in the tone and mode of conversation, which can be a little disorienting, if not disconcerting.
But it is not hard to see how their respective personalities would complement each other, and their history together does seem to bear this out. The two worked together for a long time at Coutts, Dauriac-Stoebe as a founder of the company’s non-domiciled Private Office division, before she took gardening leave in mid-2009, having been recruited by one of its City rivals.
However, these plans were rapidly revised. ‘I was sitting at home and began receiving calls from three of the largest UK entrepreneurs, all saying the exact same thing: they needed solutions for their more often than not complex financials. A lot of our clients had become disillusioned and we no longer felt able to grow [our service] at our respective institutions. I felt it was time that we gave our clients what they were looking for, so I spent some time in the States as well as Switzerland so I could take the best parts of each institution and then formulate one.’
The company offers a range of charging options with PE and tax work charged separately. Cash management operates on 10 basis points – yielding 2.8% at an AA institution – while investment management is levied at between 0.5% and 1%, with a performance charge of 10% on returns above a high watermark of Libor +3% to +5%, dependent on the mandate.
‘The difference between us and other family offices is that we are not in competition with the banks – we leverage off them,’ adds Batra, who says the company typically works in partnership with other businesses to provide overall portfolio management.
‘We have a sweet spot of about £25 million. Some of [our clients] will give us more than 50% [of their portfolio] but most will give us 70% to 80%, which at the moment we would expect to get fully invested within nine months.