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Wealth Manager: How RC Brown's discretionary heads took a pension manager into private clients
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by David Campbell on Nov 17, 2011 at 00:01
Talented and experienced though they are, Alan Beaney and Glenn Meyer may make an unlikely dynamic duo. Before being recruited by Bristol-based institutional manager RC Brown as architects of a new private client service, both men say that at various points in their careers they had considered retirement − in Beaney’s case altogether, in Meyer’s from fund management.
But as investment director and head of managed funds respectively they have recorded some remarkable successes, gathering close on £20 million in the past 18 months from more than 60 adviser clients and designing and installing an open-architecture business model from scratch.
Company co-founder and chair Bob Brown meanwhile is slowly transitioning out of the business and preparing to pass off his equity, although he still remains closely involved in the institutional management and two funds that the company runs for Marlborough Fund Managers.
‘I was working at Principal when Bob approached me, and I thought, well, I can’t think about retiring just yet,’ says Beaney.
‘It’s nice to have the strength of an existing business but also have a blank slate. It’s not an opportunity that comes along very often and I know how to build a private client business: I did it at Principal for seven years.’
While the third-party investment management concept is the engine of the business, the pair’s shared institutional background is its guiding principle, with a transparent fee structure that would pass muster with the most rigorous outsourcing consultant or actuary.
Their investment methodology also emphasises repeatable processes, due diligence and risk pairing over the − potentially unreliable − flashes of inspiration and personal insight, which can be a vice of smaller and more individual-led boutique equity houses. That has to be of comfort to an adviser passing off clients who, in many cases, might be long-standing widows and orphans.
But crucially this has all fed through into economies of scale. From an investment minimum of £2 million for a handful of friends and professional connections who were clients of the company before Beaney and Meyer joined, this has now fallen to £25,000, opening a huge pool of potential.
‘We always set out to build growth in a relatively steady way,’ says Meyer. ‘We want IFAs to have confidence in us and be happy to see their clients’ money being run by us. The strength is in our consistency and the fact that we have controlled costs at a lower level than many others.