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Wealth Manager: Psigma explains how it has gone from 'three men and a dog' to a £3bn target

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by Annabelle Williams on Feb 14, 2013 at 00:01

Meet an investment manager on the eve of an epic Africa holiday and you’re likely to find him in top form. This was the case with Psigma Investment Management’s managing director Darrell Mercer, who was not only preparing for a river cruise to South Africa from Botswana, but was also happily marking the first year of a new decade for the business, after seeing assets hit £1.4 billion.

The five-year plan is now to reach £3 billion – a figure that’s a far cry from the days when Psigma was trying to convince clients to bring their money to what Mercer described as ‘three men and a dog in a little office in Jermyn Street’.

Psigma grew out of a team of three big bank investment managers, John Howard-Smith, Adam Side and Mercer, who met while working for Credit Suisse.

The three moved together to James Capel – which was later acquired by HSBC – before they decided to go it alone.

Like many managers who chose to set up their own shop, Mercer had worked for a smaller, traditional business that found itself amalgamated into a giant conglomerate following its acquisition.

He found the culture at the big banks unsettling. ‘The reason we set this up was the big banks problem that was around at those times,’ he explains. ‘I don’t think the big bank culture was in the interests of clients.’

And nearly 10 years on, he says: ‘I think there’s still a problem.’

To hit the £3 billion target, Psigma is hoping to increase business with IFAs and, given the founders’ background at multinational banks, it’s no surprise they are still hoping to draw clients from the big guns.

‘We want to do that organically using our sales team to go out into the marketplace and win new business,’ Mercer says.

 

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