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Wealth Manager: Colin McInnes of Quartet Capital on his first year as an indy

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by Sarah Miloudi on Oct 28, 2010 at 00:01

After nearly a decade at Berry Asset Management, watching it grow from a fledgling asset manager into an established name, Colin McInnes decided it was time he took the helm of his own business, launching Quartet Capital Partners.

‘I’d become a bit disillusioned with the investment model being adopted at the firm where I worked – that’s not an explicit criticism of them, more a criticism of the industry itself,’ he confesses.

‘When I looked at it, without exception, the majority of portfolio returns were derived from asset allocation. I found it shocking that no one did active asset allocation. They may have said they did, but where one really saw it was making changes at the margins. 

McInnes admits it sounds ‘corny’ to say he was disenchanted with the wealth management industry. ‘People say “disillusioned” as though they have grand ideals, but I really did feel that way,’ he says. 

‘Truth be told, I was also in a position where I may or may not have been pencilled in as a potential future chief executive [at Berry’s]. But the firm was largely owned by a Swiss bank and it was their baby. 

‘I looked at things and thought, I don’t really agree with certain investment style issues. Plus, I wanted my own sort of ship, my own baby to run.’

At the same time as feeling disillusioned and unfulfilled he was in discussions with close friend Niels Jensen, a director of Trafalgar House Trustees and chief executive partner of Absolute Return Partners, about founding a new business.

‘I was receiving their [Absolute Return Partners] asset allocation newsletters and without a doubt these were the best around, yet they didn’t have a product I could buy,’ McInnes says.

‘They had the asset allocation skills and I had the skills to run a private client business. As it turned out, we were both thinking along similar lines at around the same time. I can’t remember who suggested it to whom but somewhere along the line, we developed it.

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