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Wealth Manager: European Wealth's CEO on the steps to its first £1bn

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by David Campbell on Jul 19, 2012 at 00:01

If European Wealth Management (EWM) chief executive Rod Gentry can build a business with anything like the brisk efficiency with which he conducts an interview, then the company has a bright future ahead of it.

It should be mentioned that all the evidence suggests he can. Three years on from EWM’s incorporation and it has secured a string of deals that by 2013 is expected to have consolidated around £450 million in discretionary and advisory assets, with no sign of a slowdown.

Getting to this point has not necessarily been easy: his promotion to CEO of Ashcourt (now Ashcourt Rowan) as the financial world was imploding in 2008 might be considered coming up the hard way.

Working for then-owner Syndicate during its empire building period offered a master class in how – and how not – to merge wealth management and advisory companies, however.

‘We have a lot of experience, and learned a lot from those experiences,’ Gentry says of himself and the management team the company has built around Ashcourt alumni. ‘[But] we are all doing it because we enjoy doing it and the moment we stop enjoying it will be the time to call it a day.’

He is reluctant to be drawn on the particulars of his short period at the top of Ashcourt, having worked for the business in one form or another through various mergers over the best part of 20 years, over which time the company grew to run £2 billion.

But he exited the company the year after his appointment over substantial differences with Syndicate on company strategy, and it’s not a great stretch to imagine the experience as a little bruising.

‘[Ashcourt] was moving toward a centralised way of doing things, with less and less control given to investment managers, and we wanted to do the opposite of that,’ Gentry says.

‘We didn’t want to be part of the ongoing deskilling of investment management – and talking to other people in our profession and outside it, we think they feel the same.

 

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