The clouds are clearing and the sun is shining through as I make my way along the famous Brighton Lanes. I catch a glimpse of the sea as I head towards lunch with former Wealth Manager coverstar David Pegler, feeling right in the thick of seaside life, writes Eleanor Mahmoud.
Pegler launched Brighton Capital Management under the helpful arm of Raymond James in 2015, and since then things have been going swimmingly.
‘Brighton is a great place to do business,’ Pegler says as we settle at a quiet table in No.32, a stylish spot more bistro than pub, with a glass of wine.
Though a number of national wealth management firms decided to close their regional offices in Brighton over the last few years, Pegler maintains that the city provides an excellent business environment. With UBS, Charles Stanley and Brewin Dolphin all shutting up shop, there is now little direct competition in the area.
We order matching calamari starters to kick things off as I find out more. Pegler most recently headed up Brewin Dolphin’s Brighton office before it closed and having spent many years employed in a larger company, I’m keen to hear how he has found launching on his own. It is clear that Pegler is extremely proud of the work that has gone into launching his business.
‘It’s great to look back on what we’ve achieved and say “we’ve done it!”’
With almost 30 years’ investment experience, he was always in great stead to set up on his own, saying: ‘At Cazenove I learnt private client skills. At UBS I learned to sell and at Brewin Dolphin I learned to manage a team. Now I’ve utilised all those skills and put them together to do my own thing.’
It was important to Pegler and founding colleague Tim O’Connor to obtain honest feedback and ideas from people they wanted to be advising.
‘When we set up Brighton Capital Management we asked our friends and existing clients what they’d like from us. They wanted intergenerational, family level advice,’ he explains.
Now looking after private clients and their families, Pegler’s team think of themselves more as a multi-family office than a wealth management firm – a term he recognises as being a little blurry nowadays.
He describes a changing client demographic: ‘We’re moving away from having a large majority of retired clients to having more entrepreneurs and business owners who want an adviser they can trust.’
Taking on this change is a benefit, as not only is Brighton a relatively wealthy area, it has also been called the most entrepreneurial city in the UK.
‘Entrepreneurial clients are a really interesting bunch to work with. Some of them are high net worth now and we’ll watch them move into ultra-high net worth.’
We tuck into our main courses; perhaps a tad controversial given our location, our order hasn’t included fish and chips. Pegler has opted for a minute steak and I chose one of No.32’s burger options.
Pegler shares some stories with me that highlight how important building genuine client relationships is to him.
Brighton Capital Management has an ‘open door’ policy when it comes to meeting a potential new client, where they are asked about their life, family and goals rather than their finances.
Pegler is confident that the latter will naturally follow once the former has been established.
‘I’m always prepared to invest time with people and see what happens. I’m a believer that if you give out without expecting back, things will come back to you.’
Pegler is a busy man. Next to raising a family and some impressive sporting achievements, Brighton Capital Management is understandably a large part of his life. Positively embracing change and pioneering a modern approach is a fundamental part of his success so far.
‘The concept of retirement is changing – there’s no rules anymore. As advisers, we have to deal with these changing dynamics.’
Q: How many pebbles are there on Brighton’s famous beach?
A: Approximately 614,600,000 along the six miles of beach, although we’re still waiting for them to be counted….
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