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Wealth Manager Profile: Richard Whitehead

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by Matthew Goodburn on Dec 03, 2009 at 00:01

Richard Whitehead is a man on a mission. Eighteen months on from spearheading a management buyout from James Baxter Capital Management, which saw him and his colleagues take control of the former IFA business, he is clearly thriving on leading the challenge of growing the rebranded business.

He has enjoyed a steady rise up the ranks in a career that has taken him from Chase de Vere to Cazenove to Coutts, before his latest move to what was then James Baxter.

While he admits that it was a ‘brave’ move to push through the MBO in February 2008 when markets were experiencing freefall, it is clear that he is continuing to relish the challenge. 

‘The market has forced us to be incredibly close to our clients. An MBO offers you an opportunity to improve capital and bring in new blood in marketing and direction,’ he says before adding: ‘It has been a challenge but I would not change it.’

The former Coutts man and his co-director Matthew Wille have successfully converted what was an IFA business into a discretionary management business and, with the financial backing of the Timpson family and a handful of private investors, the transition is now complete.

He says the 13-strong firm lost a sprinkling of transactional clients in the handover but the vast majority remained with the business, only too happy to find themselves under active wealth management with Whitehead’s team.

‘When I joined the James Baxter business five years ago, a lot of businesses were evolving to fee-based models. They had to go through the pain of losing commission offset and that inevitably leads to confusion about what you are billing for.

‘We told our clients that we would bill them 1% a year from their nominee bank account. That is what discretionary fees are, he stresses, ‘when you get paid by your client at a transparent rate’.

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