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Wealth Manager Profile: Rupert Robinson
by Matthew Goodburn on Apr 15, 2009 at 00:01
He recalls: ‘When I started there were jobs for all and sundry – now clients want quality and speciality.’
This is where he believes Schroders Private Bank comes into its own. The division as a whole employs around 320 people, with branches in Zurich and Geneva, as well as in Guernsey. It has a branch of the UK private banking business in Frankfurt, a business development office in Spain as well as a small trust and administration operation in the Cayman Islands.
Robinson also expects small private client asset management businesses in Italy and Singapore to get banking licences in 2010. He says: ‘We have several strings to the business. Having a leading global asset management business gives us an advantage in asset management and we have a lot of experience to draw on.’
Before its private bank operation was sold in August 2000, Schroders had a small discretionary business which had been a division of Schroder Investment Management. When the investment bank was sold, Schroders integrated its small deposit business into the new banking and private client businesses.
He says: ‘What were independently run groups of businesses have been pulled together to what you see today: a highly profitable private banking business dedicated to servicing private clients around the world.’
Robinson is keen to stress that the London office, with its £5 billion of private client assets, is fundamentally different to other parts of the business, both in the type of clients it attracts and the way it goes about finding its wealthy client base. He says: ‘We work much closer to the ultra-high net worth private bank boutique than to a high net worth or mass affluent business.’
Excluding charity money, which accounts for about £950 million of assets, Robinson and his London team manage money for about 750 family groups. Within those groups, about 40% of the funds under management come from families with more than £20 million.
‘The business model, the brand, size of team, and
the experience and knowledge of that team all lend themselves to attracting top-end wealth,’ he says.
While keen not to be seen to ‘denigrate smaller clients’, Robinson stresses that new business attracted to the London office in the past 12 months bear out his comments. He says: ‘The profile of the new clients last year showed high-end demographics. These were people who had sold their businesses and sat on the cash for a period of time or were looking to make their money work harder.’
The bulk of the new monies had come either from existing clients or from rivals, and Robinson believes Schroders has benefited from what he sees as a high level of churn amid the market chaos. He says: ‘Brand is very important. When you look at the wreckage of the last year, some brands have disappeared, some have been damaged, and some have come through it with a stronger story.’
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