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Wealth Manager: Rathbone's Edinburgh duo on building stability in an over-broked battleground

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by Danielle Levy on Oct 10, 2013 at 00:01

The centralisation of investment processes and a move towards model portfolios are two undeniable trends in private client investment management over the past five years.

They are also two factors that have inadvertently driven growth in Rathbones’ Edinburgh office more recently, as the firm has attracted staff and assets on the back of its decision to give individual managers the autonomy to manage client portfolios as they see fit.

Linked to this, investment director Simon Dewar says the Edinburgh hub in particular has benefited from a growing perception that Rathbones offers a stable home for intelligent individual investment managers who crave input into investment processes.

‘We are seen as quite a stable shop in Edinburgh and our growth has proved it. In the industry as a whole there have been a lot of changes post-retail distribution review (RDR), but within that we have had five pretty difficult years,’ he says.

‘The managers we come across get frustrated that they are getting forced into model portfolios or forced to buy collectives.’

The Edinburgh office can count the hires of Stephen Hunter from Cornelian, Keith Mackenzie from Williams de Broë and Evangelos Assimakos from Turcan Connell over the past 18 months as testimony to this.

In contrast to its competitors, Rathbones gives individual investment managers the flexibility to express investment views based on what they feel is most appropriate for the underlying client. The ethos is underpinned by an investment approach that can boast a robust research process and intellectual rigour.

Individual managers are, of course, given guidelines and research to help frame their thinking, with portfolios consistently monitored for outliers. But it is an approach that is clearly gaining traction in the wider market.

As a FTSE 250 company with just under 18% of its shares held by staff, Dewar adds that staff buy-in to this ethos is essential.

‘What is more important, we have always said we are providing a service not a product. One size doesn’t fit all and most investment managers in wealth management got into the industry because they wanted to deal directly with clients and to structure portfolios accordingly.

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