The On the Road team made the journey to Bristol and Bath this week and told us about their travels.
After a last minute rush for the train, Alex and Eleanor have arrived in Bristol, while Katie got off a stop earlier in Bath.
Katie visited senior investment managers Dean Hodgson and Rob Robson of Investec. She found that the close working relationships they have with their local clients and financial intermediaries are great. They also told her how they are looking forward to the seeing business develop in the city.
Meanwhile Alex headed over to Brewin Dolphin to visit branch principal Tom Miller.
‘We’ve been in Bristol for almost seven years and have been focused on building our relationships with local professionals, charities and IFA’s,’ Miller says. ‘Over the last year the strong relationships with our clients has led to AUM growth of 8.5% net of market movement.’ Impressive stuff!
Eleanor also met Nick Lamb of WH Ireland, who spoke about the demand for technology in the industry.
‘It’s a pivotal time in the wealth management industry, when the demand for technology-driven services continues to rise,’ Lamb says. ‘There are some good automated solutions available to clients and we have to plan for the next generation and embrace a greater use of technology otherwise we risk falling behind.’
As evening drew in, after soaking in a bit of the city, the On the Road team paired up with our sister magazine, New Model Adviser’s team, for a delicious burger feast… or that was the plan.
News broke of an early Champions League fixture and the boys suddenly disappeared without a trace, though I doubt they were too sorely missed.
The 'On The R0oad' Team
An early start (for some) on Thursday found Katie off to meet JM Finn’s senior investment manager Scott Avent, who told us about the firm’s stock selection process in its Bristol office.
‘We give our investment managers a degree of independence when it comes to selecting stocks and funds and are not beholden to centralised buy lists,’ explains Avent.
Additionally Avent gave us some insight into which funds the team bought, particularly from an early stage.
‘We were fortunate that we bought Fundsmith early, when it had assets of £100 million,’ remarks Avent. ‘We also invested in the Evenload Income fund early. They came to us when they were managing £50 million, now the flagship fund has soft closed at £2.5 billion.’
After an extremely enjoyable extra couple of hours’ sleep, Alex and Eleanor went to visit Whitechurch Securities, meeting with managing director Gavin Haynes and head of SRI & direct equities Amanda Tovey, who were keen to talk about their approach to ethical investing.
First on the agenda was the screening process; ‘In regards to ethical screening, social and environmental issues are top of our list, with animal testing being an example of the detail on the screening process we go through,’ Tovey explains.
‘But we aren’t seeing any viable ethical passive options at the moment,’ Haynes adds.
Wrapping up the last meeting, the gang reunites and makes their way to the station, bound for London.
It was a thoroughly interesting and useful trip to Bristol and Bath, getting a real understanding of the regions and the fantastic firms that operate there. We look forward to returning in the future!