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What’s in a name? The art of rebranding post-M&A

by James Phillipps on Jun 27, 2014 at 11:14

‘F&C felt it had the heritage and that outweighed the work done on the Isis brand,’ he said. ‘You can fuse them together, and that is sometimes temporary as part of a journey, but that is not the case at Tilney Bestinvest.’

In January, JO Hambro Investment Management opted for the new name route, albeit Waverton was the existing branding of its retail fund range.

Chief executive Hugh Grootenhuis said the management team deliberated long and hard about the name, but always came to back to the same idea.

The rebrand, which was sparked by Somers Ltd and the management team buying the company from Credit Suisse, also had the advantage of removing any confusion caused by the number of companies having ‘Hambro’ in their name.

‘We did test out the name with some of our clients and they liked it and were familiar with it as they probably have some of our funds in their portfolios,’ Grootenhuis said.

‘We had other ideas but we always came back to Waverton.’

Seymour said that in many ways, brand is not the be all and end all in such a niche industry as wealth management, which is so reliant on professional connections and personal relationships.

‘Brand plays an interesting role in our sector of the industry,’ she said. ‘People rarely come to us or our competitors because we are a high street brand like, say, Barclays. They come to us because they have been referred by an existing client or a professional intermediary who recommends us. The new client is dealt with by the investment manager responsible for their portfolio and deep relationships result on a personal level.

‘Brand sits behind these relationships providing the reassurance of a professional and robust firm sat behind the investment manager the client is dealing with. Brand provides the glue to cement relationships rather than necessarily the magnet to draw in new business on its own.’

The perceived value of having a strong name behind the brand was one of the factors why Heartwood became ‘Heartwood part of the Handelsbanken group’, following its acquisition by the Swedish bank. It was also felt that Heartwood had strong recognition and retaining the name reflected its independence within the wider group.

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