(Pictured above: Chris Mayo, left, Katie Gilfillan, right)
In this week’s pub club, I met with Chris Mayo, investment director at Wellian Investment Solutions, and we are not alone, writes Katie Gilfillan.
Albeit far from ominous, we are surrounded by an excellent selection of animal pillows: dogs, cats, owls – you name it. I had been warned in advance by Mayo that we would be meeting in a cave; however, I was not expecting it to be so fabulously furnished.
The Mount Edgcumbe is a delightfully rustic pub in Tunbridge Wells with a cosy cave-like alcove, which we settled ourselves in.
Talking among our new furry friends, we discuss the big plans Wellian has in the pipeline.
‘We’re currently in the process of planning an event, because our 10-year anniversary has coincided with us passing the £1 billion assets under management mark, so it’ll be a double celebration for all the staff,’ Mayo says.
It is a very exciting time for Wellian at the moment. The firm was set up just over 10 years ago, and it has grown in leaps and bounds ever since – accruing more than £1 billion in assets under management over that time is no small feat.
After taking a peek at the food offered to us in the cave, I am surprised to say it has a lovely selection. Torn between the options, Mayo (not to be confused with the condiment) orders a sausage ciabatta, while the chicken supreme jumps out at me as the must-have option.
While taking a sip of my fruity cider, I discover Mayo started out in financial services when he began working for an IFA firm 20 years ago.
‘I found that the life insurance products being offered were overvalued and underperforming, so I wanted to make a change to the industry for the better.’
Mayo describes clients’ interest as a major factor in the transition from IFA to the investment management business now known as Wellian. He explains that the time between finding an investment and asking for permission was too arduous and time consuming for clients.
‘We decided to go discretionary and do something different after clients kept saying ‘just do it for us’, he says. ‘We started creating our own portfolios and offering portfolio management and research to IFAs within the business.’
Obviously impressed with its performance, Harwood Capital Management then acquired Wellian in 2015.
Scanning the dessert menu before realising we are both too full to get anything else, conversation turns to weekend plans and Mayo tells me he is going to watch Michael Macintyre live in London. As a fellow lover of comedy myself, I am full, not only from the delightful lunch, but also of jealousy. He jokingly assures me, however, that he has no plans to be on the other side of the stage any time soon.
Being familiar with Wellian’s London office, I wonder if he has any plans to move there.
‘I have lived in Tunbridge Wells since I was four,’ Mayo explains. ‘There’s a real sense of the local community, and I am so grateful to be able to be doing a job I love every day within a 10 minute drive!’
He adds: ‘It’s different working outside of London. I prefer having the flexibility out here and the lifestyle is a lot more sustainable. I like having a great work life balance, which is important when raising kids. All this is so much more positive than commuting into London every day.’
Well(ian), that answers that question.
As all good things do, lunch comes to an end – but, sadly, we are not allowed to take our new animal-shaped comrades with us.
GLASS HALF EMPTY:
‘The geopolitical issues surrounding us now means that we have to look at what is happening outside of the investment community over the next 24 months in order to see what impact it will have on us.’
GLASS HALF FULL:
‘We are seeing general equity valuations as quite cheap at the moment and find it is a good opportunity to buy, offering good value for money.’