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Wealth Manager: Close's enigmatic small-cap star Noble-Nesbitt

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by Annabelle Williams on Nov 14, 2012 at 14:58

The need to remain competitive in an ever more saturated investment management industry has meant countless new service launches by firms small and large.

Close Brothers Asset Management, with its nine offices nationwide and £8.3 billion in assets under management, is no different in its desire to scale up its product offering. Earlier this year it launched a tailored portfolio service (TPS), catering for clients with between £250,000 and £1 million, aiming to fill a gap in its coverage.

The man picked to lead the service is Deryck Noble-Nesbitt, best known for his fund management, after taking the Close Special Situations fund from a death-like state and delivering a 209.42% return from the market bottom in 2009. His other fund, Close Beacon Investment , had a similarly spectacular 2009, with a 151.7% return for the year as a whole.

Softly spoken and Durham-born, Noble-Nesbitt is terse throughout the interview and it’s hard to tell whether he is nervous, shy or simply guarded.

He says he ‘jumped at the chance’ to take on the TPS as a natural extension of what I’ve been doing at Close for the last seven and a half years’.

The service has taken on around £30 million in new money over the summer, bringing total assets to £240 million across 600 clients.

He says he is ‘vaguely optimistic’ about the prospects for the service but ruefully smiles that he is superstitious, and making assertions about asset growth could possibly jinx him.

While polite, Noble-Nesbitt speaks in a slow, deliberate manner and is reluctant to give much away. He rejects the suggestion that he is an expert, or even has a special interest in smaller companies, despite formally serving as Close’s managing director of investments and smaller companies.

‘I’m interested in investment management,’ he states bluntly. ‘I’m interested in identifying securities, whether they’re large cap, whether they’re small cap… that create value for clients. I don’t think the techniques and the process you use are very different between the asset classes.’

 

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