The Oast House, where we are heading for this week’s Pub Club, seems somewhat out of place in Manchester’s slick financial hotspot, Spinningfields, writes Eleanor Mahmoud. Purpose built and deliberately designed to look rustic and quaint, The Oast House is surrounded by modern glass buildings. Saying that, it somehow works and provides us as visitors with a warm welcome.
The Spinningfields development is home to Investec Wealth & Investment’s Manchester office, where we meet Richard Greenhalgh.
‘We hold our Christmas party at The Oast House Teepee, which is now a popular and trendy attraction. We are excited to be front and centre of [the city’s] continued growth story.’
His enthusiasm shines through and we soon find out why. Originally from the Wirral, Greenhalgh spent 10 years after university on the other side of the Watford Gap. He eventually followed his heart (and a job offer) back to the North West.
‘I trained as an accountant at PwC for 10 years in London. When I moved out of London I moved industry and it was a bit of a shock to the system to start with; I was the new one on the scene with a lot to learn, but my accountancy background had given me a good grounding,’ Greenhalgh tells me.
Greenhalgh is by no means the new one on the scene anymore. He joined Investec Wealth & Investment (Rensburg Shepherd as it was at the time) in 2007. Fast forward to 2015 and he was made head of its Manchester office, tasked with sustaining growth.
The regional office now employs 32 people, including a small private banking team. They have made IFA exposure a large part of the business and actively seek growth from both the IFA stream and direct business.
Greenhalgh advises us to try The Oast House’s signature meal, hanging skewer kebabs. The On the Road team are regularly putting our trust in the locals, so away we go with some hanging lamb skewers.
A busy man, Greenhalgh tells me he spends about a day and a half each week running the office. The rest of his week is spent juggling his full-time client responsibilities, alongside his own extremely active personal life. He’s a family man, a keen skier, cyclist and runner. Oh, and he enjoys a spot of windsurfing too.
It does not faze him though: ‘It is a lot of work and long hours, but I love this job.’
It is clear that he is protective of the integrity of his team. ‘We grow the team by making sure people are the right fit for the business, we won’t shoehorn someone in,’ he says.
As we tuck into said skewers, I question whether this means they struggle to attract younger talent. Greenhalgh admits that people do tend to skip the North when they’re starting out, heading to London to gather experience and qualifications first.
‘Appetite from the younger generation to join this industry is on the up, but it hasn’t quite matched accountancy or law,’ he concedes.
In an attempt to combat this, Investec has recently introduced a graduate scheme. Greenhalgh says that the firm sees a fair few number of CVs from graduates and has recruited someone from Manchester University.
While the next generation of investment managers may take its time to fully make waves, Greenhalgh is confident that this industry has a lot of potential in the region.
‘Manchester has a vibrancy about it. It’s entrepreneurial, there is a thriving private equity scene and there are some fantastic wealth generation stories in the city.’
GLASS HALF EMPTY: Global uncertainty - I feel that there is a shake-up of our general world order.
GLASS HALF FULL: I love Manchester – the city, the job and my team. They’re very supportive of growth, which is a fantastic thing.