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Wealth Manager: Close Wealth co-founder Carr-Stevens on how her new boutique will shake things up
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by James Phillipps on Feb 23, 2012 at 00:01
There are arguably two schools of thought about the merits of launching a business in the current uncertain regulatory and economic climate: one that you couldn’t pick a worse moment given the current flight to safety, and the other that the time is ripe to capitalise on the changes facing the industry.
Elizabeth Carr-Stevens, managing director of wealth management at Hartmann Capital, is firmly in the latter camp.
‘We are starting with a clean slate and all of our systems are being created around the current regulatory environment,’ she says. ‘We are very lucky from that point of view – we don’t have a large legacy business.’
Specialist investment bank Hartmann brought in Carr-Stevens in January this year to spearhead the launch of its fledgling wealth management business. She is no stranger to start-ups, however, having been part of the team that launched Close Brothers’ wealth management arm.
A straight-talking American, Carr-Stevens has been in the UK for over 14 years, having started out across the pond as an options trader before moving to Merrill Lynch, where she spent six years as a discretionary wealth manager before joining independent investment banking and brokerage firm Tucker Anthony.
‘I lived and worked in the Boston area, but my ex-husband was English,’ she explains. ‘I was working for Tucker Anthony with a six-week-old son and I wanted a couple of months off. They said no. You just can’t do that in the US, you get two weeks’ vacation every year and are made to feel guilty for taking it.
‘A lot of it is just face time – it’s very patriarchal, just being seen to be there.’
The decision to up sticks and move to the UK resulted in her joining Close and she admits that there were a few cultural differences to overcome, not least the reticence of many Britons to discuss money.
‘Americans tell you everything, so I had to adapt my style to fit in more,’ she laughs.
Not that it held her back, as she went on to run Cazenove’s Salisbury office for six years until the branch was eventually closed.