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Seven IM strategy conflict sees CIO Darbyshire exit

Seven IM strategy conflict sees CIO Darbyshire exit

Seven Investment Management (7IM) has restructured its senior management following the departure of chief investment officer Chris Darbyshire following a conflict over investment strategy.  

Darbyshire has left his post, which he had held since 2013, following a difference of opinion concerning the future strategy of the business, including taking a more defensive position regarding investment.

He initially joined the company in 2012 as senior investment officer and was later promoted to CIO. Following his exit, co-founder and head of corporate development Justin Urquhart Stewart said management ‘took the opportunity’ to restructure and split the role into two: with one person managing the strategy and the other managing the team.

As a result, Alex Scott, who served as deputy CIO has taken on the role of chief strategist. Ian Jensen-Humphreys, who worked as a senior investment manager, has been appointed as interim CIO. Urquhart Stewart (pictured) said that in due course the company will look to fill the position full time.

He said: ‘The team is now much larger, we need someone to manage it and someone to manage the strategy. Alex has been with me right from the beginning and is one of the best analysts I’ve worked with.

‘We’re also handling a much broader range of assets, having to deal with futures, derivatives, a whole range of passives and structures and currency hedging as well. The whole structure of the investment team had to become much deeper than six to seven years ago, so it was a good opportunity to restructure.’

In addition to Darbyshire, the firm’s head of sales Robert Poulten has also left the company. Urquhart Stewart said that while ‘he put in place an excellent team’ and built up sales, the company wants someone who is more experienced in an investment business to take it to the next phase of its growth.

Elsewhere, Seven IM has hired three relationship managers to broaden its reach. Mark Endacott, Michael Martin and Dan Dowding have joined the company from Barclays Wealth, Cazenove Capital and Killik, respectively.

As it prepares to further grow its £12 billion in assets under management, 7IM has also received authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority as a Sipp operator. It is now awaiting HMRC approval and will be launching
a product next year.

‘We will still be working with other Sipp providers because they can do things we won’t be able to do,’ Urquhart Stewart said. ‘But we now have such volume it is justified having
our own Sipp.’

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