Over the past two years, Carrington Investments has not only doubled assets under management (AUM) to £200 million but also vastly grown its average portfolio size from £200,000 to an incredible £800,000, writes Katie Gilfillan.
Marvelling on this impressive feat, I meet with its head of investment research, Mohsin Bukhari at The Grazing Goat in Marylebone. We immediately felt right at home at this pub amongst the French/Mediterranean decor, so much so we had not even looked at the menu by the time we had to order.
Spoiled for choice, we settled on the chilli squid and burrata for starters and burgers for the mains. While dreaming about the food we had just ordered, I find out that Bukhari was the fourth Carrington hire in 2011 when the firm had only £30 million AUM.
He is solely responsible for the firm’s investment proposition and explains that Carrington is primarily an IFA firm. Now, however, it holds discretionary powers which has helped to get the firm to where it is today.
‘It was our ambition to become discretionary over the last three years. We have been building up to do it ourselves, however, the capital adequacy side of things was especially challenging, with some uncertainty around the sums required following changes to the rules,’ Bukhari explains.
‘A lucky break in the search for discretionary powers came last year when we met with LGT Vestra who have recently launched a service which allows advisory firms to use their permissions,’ Bukhari continues.
‘This has allowed us to act in a discretionary manner. The access to LGT Vestra is invaluable and is a more attractive prospect despite the slightly higher cost.’
Taking advantage of this, Carrington Investments had a plan to grow AUM to £250 million in three years, but it finds itself way ahead of schedule only two years in. With this growth in mind, I am curious how Carrington got started.
‘It was pretty much built from scratch by our director Mike Hodges who had a vision of it being a pure wealth management proposition.’
I assume Bukhari went down the classic finance route. How wrong I was.
Graduating with a degree in materials engineering in 2008, the timing could not have been worse, coinciding with the global financial crisis. In his eyes it seemed like every graduate programme closed its doors, every job application response was automated.
Just when all hope seemed lost, a school friend recommended Bukhari to Hodges. This recommendation gave way to two interviews and the rest is history.
‘My engineering background lent itself well to investment management. I started on the admin side of things but was naturally drawn to investments. Four years in, after taking all the exams, I became head of investment research and then eventually took over the whole proposition.’
Gaining a huge amount of responsibility in a relatively short space of time is quite the achievement. I am keen to find out if the culture at Carrington helps develop its employees or if this was pure chance.
‘I love watching people strive to succeed and progress in their career. The only problem now is we’re looking to hire even more admin staff as everyone is qualifying as advisers!’
In a surprise turn, we end up discussing Bukhari’s holiday habits. Clearly not afraid of a challenge, he throws caution to the wind when it comes to this part of his life. Rather than flying, he prefers travelling across Europe by car with his three children.
‘As a family we are able to engage more with the local people and culture than by simply flying.’
He takes this inspiration from his personal life into his work by engaging with clients.
‘I believe it’s better to have a connection with and trust the person managing your wealth for the entirety of their career, rather than feeling like another number at one of the larger banks.’
Glass Half Full:
‘The company is going in the right direction and it is very exciting to be a part of.’
Glass Half Empty:
'The increasing speed of technological development suggests a computer may be able to do my job in the years to come.’