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Wealth Manager: Heather Maizels - from barrister to investment counsel
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by James Phillipps on Oct 03, 2013 at 00:01
It is just over two years since Heather Maizels joined Victoria Private Office and in many ways, her career in wealth management has come full circle.
Maizels believes that a generation after launching Barclays’ private bank with a team of five, her current firm can once more lead the way in helping shape the direction of the private client market.
‘At Barclays I started the new model, launching its private bank from scratch, and it was copied by all of the industry,’ she says.
‘The new model for clients going forward is going to be small owner-managed companies that look after your money, provide conflict-free advice and don’t use relationship managers. This will be the next cycle.’
The business she started at Barclays 19 years ago is a world away from its current incarnation and the very fact that Maizels got it off the ground at all is a testament to her drive and persuasion.
The latter skills were honed studying law at Cambridge University’s Girton College. Maizels was awarded a scholarship to Inner Temple, going on to become a barrister, but her childhood ambition to work in the legal world ultimately left her unfulfilled.
‘It was a good pupillage and I love doing deals, but I guess I also like harmony. My practice was around settlement and the thought of spending my entire career arguing…’ She shakes her head at the notion and says, partly inspired by her late brother who worked at Hambros, she decided to move over to the City, joining Hill Samuel in 1980.
After working in its foreign exchange department, carrying out one of the first swap deals in the UK, she was later headhunted by US investment bank Kidder, Peabody & Co to set up a currency desk.
She describes the move as her ‘lucky break’. Kidder Peabody had the largest Middle East department on Wall Street, and working with wealthy families on a placement to Kuwait opened her eyes to the private client world.