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Office Spotlight: Stonehage Fleming Investment Management, London

Office Spotlight: Stonehage Fleming Investment Management, London

Year office opened: 2015

Number of staff: 150

Assets under management (group): £10bn

Average portfolio size: +£25m

Number of clients +250

Top market picks: 

Emerging Markets

In an environment where the monetary tightening cycle in the US slows, and there is a reprieve, even temporarily, in relations between US and China, emerging market assets should become appealing once again.

 Mega-Cap Technology

An interesting change in the second half of 2018 was the underperformance of large cap technology stocks. Following a period of compelling gains, the NYSE Fang index retreated by almost 25%, as investors re-priced these former untouchables at lower valuations. Such industry disruptors are becoming more interesting for long-term allocations.

Q&A with Graham Wainer, CEO at Stonehage Fleming Investment Management, London

What differentiates your region?

Many of our clients are global citizens and value the international perspective we offer, with access to contacts and investment opportunities worldwide. The financial circumstances of many of our clients can be complex – different legal systems and tax requirements can apply to various generations and interests within several branches of the same family. Therefore, differentiating London as a region for us is not wholly relevant. The London office does not deal solely with British clients. 

What is your typical client demographic?

We are the trusted adviser to UK and international ultra-high net worth families with multi-jurisdictional assets of between £20 million and £500 million plus, often comprising privately-held or privately-controlled companies as well as liquid investments in public markets.  What challenges do your clients face?

What challenges do your clients face?

Succession planning – whether in terms of the family business or an investment portfolio – is probably the most meaningful challenge that our clients face. The need to put in place a plan to hand the reins over to the next generation is always top of mind. Aside from this, the biggest investment challenge remains geo-political risk – especially the impact of political uncertainty on financial markets.

Bullish or bearish?

We are careful not to be distracted by short-term periods of market stress. The important question is whether this turbulence and the macro challenges of 2018 represent a harbinger of what is in store for 2019 and beyond. We emphasise the following three core views:

1. Global growth is moderating, but not collapsing, and will sustain a steady pace. We believe that pockets of the equity market have over-reacted to growth concerns and offer attractive long-term returns. A notable example is the value style in US and UK assets.

2. Headwinds for emerging markets are expected to be less severe in 2019 than 2018, with the potential for depressed investor sentiment to become reinvigorated. This should coincide with global markets recovering relative to the US, where economic momentum is likely to have peaked.

3. Despite a slower growth outlook there remains little appeal in holding core government bonds. Yields on US and UK sovereigns may fall in the near term but remain in an upward trend as monetary accommodation is gradually lifted.

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