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Wealth Manager Profile: Rupert Robinson
by Matthew Goodburn on Apr 15, 2009 at 00:01
If the Schroder family was looking for a suitable candidate to talk up the successes and skill sets of their private banking arm, Rupert Robinson would fit the bill perfectly.
The chief executive of Schroder Private Bank is clearly a man comfortable in his own skin. He is proud of his role in building the London office to almost £5 billion of assets under management – compared with about £2 billion when he joined the group in 2002 – representing a fair chunk of Schroders total assets of almost £11.7 billion at the end of December.
Citywire is immediately treated to Robinson’s easy charm as he greets his interviewer with a cheery hello and a loud proclamation that he will ‘be mother’ and pour the tea. He is in professional mode, reeling off a myriad of reasons why his particular private bank is probably one of the best in the business.
Robinson is especially keen to explain what gives it – and the London office in particular – its edge. ‘The beauty of our business is that we are 100% focused, from me
to the chief investment officer and downwards,’ he says. ‘Our business is run with a true sense of partnership and I respect and trust my colleagues implicitly.’
‘I also like transparency, whether that be good or bad,’ he adds, almost as an afterthought. For extra emphasis, and unless the point is lost on any prospective future employee, he stresses: ‘I want people to understand that before they walk through my door.’
It is quickly apparent this industry heavyweight likes to let his leadership qualities shine through, too.
Robinson says: ‘I believe in leading from the front, and I’m very hands-on. I have a bank of clients I manage daily and I aim to assist, support and motivate my colleagues.’
He is equally clear about where Schroders competes in the market. If it is investment management, he says he expects to see the likes of Sarasin, BNY Mellon and Morgan Stanley. The usual suspects at family office beauty parades will be Ruffer or Flemings, as well as GAM, UBS and Merrill Lynch. On the lending side, it is likely to be Coutts, SG Hambros or Investec.
Robinson went straight from school to work for venerable investment house NM Rothschild as an 18-year-old trainee. He spent two years as the personal assistant to two of the group’s directors, which clearly nurtured his drive to get to the top in his profession. He says: ‘I leaned more in those two years about how the City functioned than I probably have in the rest of my career.’
He prospered with the knowledge gleaned, but recalls the 1980s were a far cry from the professionalism he expects and receives from his team today.
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