10 wealth and fund firms to watch in 2019

From acquisitions to stemming outflows or listing on the stock market, some companies will be moving into 2019 with a spring in their steps, while others will be edging ahead with a sense of trepidation. 

We try to read the runes to see what is in store for these 10 wealth and asset management firms.


Seven Investment Management

Seven Investment Management made a surprise acquisition in 2018, buying Tcam Asset Management. Tcam’s co-CEOs, Alex Montgomery and Haig Bathgate (pictured), have both taken on roles within 7IM and become partners.

The merged firm now has £14 billion in assets under management (AUM), with offices in London, Edinburgh and Jersey. Aside from increasing its regional presence and adding to its AUM through the Tcam acquisition, 7IM has been on quite a hiring spree as well.

It brought in Coutts’ head of investment strategy, Terence Moll, and Martyn Surguy joined as CIO following the departure of Chris Darbyshire in 2017.

There is definitely movement, and it will be interesting to see what other changes take place. Will its parent, Caledonia Investments, put in more money to foster growth? Perhaps additional product launches will be the focus in 2019.

Smith & Williamson

We were all expecting Smith & Williamson to list on the stock market last year, but as these things often go, the date has been pushed back. The company recently said that the potential listing will not take place until 2020, although preparations for it are going full steam ahead. It will continue to work on its big IT project and improve governance to create a company that is in a position to float.

With a 2025 business plan in place as well, Smith & Williamson will not be resting on its laurels in 2019. Acquisitions and organic growth are all on the cards for the company, so we will wait and see what news comes out over the year. 


WH Ireland

WH Ireland is another firm that has seen its fair share of troubles. In its latest results, the group said its revenue fell from £14.5 million to £12.8 million in the six months to September 2018. It also posted a loss of £2.5 million. At the start of 2018 the firm issued a profit warning and raised £2.4 million in equity to build a capital buffer.

There has been significant change at the helm, and the wealth manager’s new CEO, Phillip Wale, is looking ahead, hoping to finally migrate the company’s back office to a new system and leave its troubles behind. In an interview with Wealth Manager last year, he said that the firm was well capitalised with supportive long-term backers. He is looking at hiring teams from rivals and potentially expanding the firm’s regional footprint. He has now also hired Stephen Ford (pictured), of Brewin Dolphin fame, as head of wealth management.

Ford clearly made an impact at Brewin Dolphin, which, under his leadership, was going through significant restructuring. He took on a less high profile job at City Asset Management in 2016. But these changes make WH Ireland a company to watch in 2019.

Neptune Investment Management

Neptune has had an interesting time over the past few years. It has lost a number of fund managers, but moved quickly to replace them. Last year, US equity head Alastair Unwin left the firm, India manager Kunal Desai departed and European equity specialist Rob Burnett left to set up his own business. Desai and Burnett’s funds seem to be in good hands, though, having been taken over by Thomas Smith.

Smith has run Neptune’s Latin America fund for a number of years and been the top performing equity fund manager in the region over the past five years, returning 24.1% versus the sector’s 2.6%.

The firm also recently hired former JP Morgan Asset Management veteran Mike Parsons as global head of sales in a bid to build out its distribution.

Will there be more hires or is CEO Robin Geffen (pictured) happy with the current line up? It remains to be seen, but the firm will be hoping for a period of stability in 2019.

Jupiter Asset Management

Although many companies in asset and wealth management have suffered share price falls, none have been hit like Jupiter last year. From January to 19 December the company’s share price fell 52.9%. Over the year, there were billions in outflows and a manager reshuffle that saw Sebastian Radcliffe, head of strategy for US equities, and Ben Surtees, a director in the global emerging markets team, exit.

In the third quarter alone the company reported £800 million of net outflows, after seeing £1 billion in net redemptions in the previous quarter.

Markets clearly have not been kind, but what can Jupiter’s management do to reverse outflows? Perhaps there will be a review of its fund suite or further changes to its manager rota. One thing is for sure, CEO Maarten Slendebroek (pictured) will be looking for ways to turn things around.


After years of preparations, Quilter, formerly Old Mutual Wealth, finally split from its parent, rebranded and became a listed company in its own right. So, what next?

Going through such a restructure, including hiring and losing a number of people from key positions as well, will certainly leave the company exhausted. Up to now, CEO Paul Feeney’s (pictured) main focus in terms of expansion has been the private client advice arm. There will most likely be more acquisitions on that front.


Oh, GAM! Over the second half of 2018, the Swiss asset manager was constantly making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Its troubles started when the company suspended and launched an investigation into its fixed income absolute return fund manager, Tim Haywood, sparking a stampede of redemptions.

Following this, its chief executive, Alexander Friedman (pictured), lost his job and was replaced by David Jacob. Jacob announced plans to restructure the firm, which meant cutting 20 jobs. The fund house issued a profit warning in December, which sent its shares plummeting 25% to a 20-year low.

Can CEO Jacob turn things around in 2019 for the embattled company, or will it be gobbled up by a rival?

Tiller Investments

We have been calling Tiller the UK’s newest robo. By the time this is published, another might just pop up, of course, but let us go with what we know so far.

Tiller was launched in July 2018, and unlike a number of robos already in market, it also provides white-labelled and integrated services to institutions, alongside its private client proposition. The firm is set to complete a second fund raise this month, and the co-founders said the money would be spent on increasing headcount and investing in technology.

Founders Ian Cadby and Jonathan Wauton are confident they will satisfy shareholders. With the amount of scepticism robos receive in the industry, it will be interesting to see how the duo address concerns and how quickly they can build assets and move toward profitability.

Merian Global Investors

In 2017 we knew that Richard Buxton (pictured) was going to be parting ways with Old Mutual Global Investors, but the details of the business were not revealed until the summer of 2018.

Buxton decided to give his newly independent company a name inspired by the life of scientist, artist and adventurer Maria Sibylla Merian. Now that everything is settled, watch out for what Buxton might do next. There are clearly ideas for expansion, with Buxton possibly looking to increase the number of strategies in the business’s stable and bring in a lot of top fund manager talent.


Last year, Wealth Manager revealed Cheviot Asset Management founder Michael Kerr-Dineen’s (pictured) dramatic comeback to the industry with his new venture, Vermeer. He recruited a total of 24 staff from Quilter Cheviot and hired former Collins Stewart CEO Simon Melling, who will serve as chief executive.

The business is not fully launched yet, but it will be intriguing to see how it develops. Cheviot was clearly a success story before it was merged with Quilter and sold to Old Mutual Wealth. Can Kerr-Dineen repeat the feat and keep his loyal followers happy in this new age of wealth management? And how much in assets will the team attract from their old employers?