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Wealth Manager: Aubrey Capital's £5bn family office opportunity

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by Elsa Buchanan on Jul 18, 2013 at 00:01

With more than 27 years’ experience in the wealth and asset management industry, Aubrey Capital Management’s founder and chief executive Barry McCorkell has seen a lot. He remembers the 1987 crisis, the crises that followed and the excitement when he and three colleagues founded the boutique in 2006.

‘If you’ve been in the business for a long time, you’re aware that things change and there is no doubt that 2008 was probably the most and formative change in financial services system and markets in my lifetime,’ he says.

‘But before that we were very much head-down building [the firm]. That’s what I mainly remember of the pre-2008 era: a sort of excitement of getting going in a business we were taking forward ourselves.’

But organic growth was not enough to keep afloat in 2008 after Aubrey’s global fund suffered in the market crash so McCorkell and his team established a small customised family office to bring in new revenues.

Aubrey, which now runs £300 million in assets under management (AUM), was founded by McCorkell, his university friend Andrew Dalrymple, former colleague Lynne Thornton and ‘like-minded’ Sharon Bentley-Hamlyn.

‘I studied law at Trinity College in Cambridge, and that’s where I met Andrew. We remained friends after graduating and after a period in Asia with James Capel and UBS Warburg in the 1990s, he joined me at Stewart Ivory – which later became First State Investments – in 1998,’ he explains.

Thornton was also at First State in Edinburgh, working with Dalrymple on its Global Opportunities fund , while Bentley-Hamlyn, who had been a director at Walter Scott & Partners, would occasionally ‘bump into us at company meetings’.

‘We came together at the end of 2006, with the intention of founding our own growth equity boutique, to repeat the success that Andrew had had with that fund, with a terrific record from its foundation in 1999 until he left in mid-2006.’

During the period, the MSCI World Index was essentially flat, he says, but Dalrymple’s fund was up around 100%.

‘He proved himself to be an extremely effective high conviction global growth equity investor, and we wanted to leverage off that success and repeat it in the business that we controlled ourselves.’

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