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Wealth Manager: Stanhope’s CIO on what has powered the office’s £4.7 billion rise
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by Danielle Levy on Oct 11, 2012 at 00:01
One would imagine that developing the investment proposition for a private investment office that has amassed £4.7 billion in assets since its launch in 2004 is no easy feat.
While Stanhope Capital’s chief investment officer Jonathan Bell acknowledges the early years of the private investment office’s life were marked by hard graft, it has been a challenge he has relished.
‘Anyone who has started a business will tell you the problems about the hours you have to work to get things done. There was also the problem that until you got a proven track record, other people don’t want to come and join you. That was a period that was great to have had, but not something I want to repeat.’
In 2004, when Stanhope was created, Bell took a gamble in leaving his role as CIO at Newton to help develop the private investment office alongside Daniel Pinto and Julien Sevaux.
‘Being able to start anything is great because you start with a clean sheet and you say: “In an ideal world what would I like?”
‘We had to decide whether to do equity selection ourselves or outsource. If you outsource, how are you going to outsource? The solution of using funds pretty quickly became our preferred route and then over time we decided it was the right route for us.’
While designing a research process for the company, Bell decided to apply similar principles to those he had used at Newton: primarily using a range of sector specialists each with depth of knowledge in their own field.
In Stanhope’s case the concept has been applied to funds. This has helped to give the firm an edge, he says.
Eight years on from launch, the business runs around £4.7 billion, with assets growing at an annualised rate of around 20%. More than 90% of income is recurring.
Having completed the acquisition of charity specialist Jewson Associates in 2011, the firm’s client base is roughly split 50/50 between private clients and institutions, while Bell associates much of the asset growth with success in winning trust assets.