Charles Stanley boosts adviser focus

Charles Stanley has said it is looking to boost its adviser-facing discretionary team with new hires and acquisitions.

The firm’s discretionary management arm is one of its fastest-growing businesses but its profile among financial advisers is not as large as peers such as Brooks Macdonald or Seven Investment Management.

Gary Teper, a board director at Charles Stanley responsible for the firm’s intermediaries team, said Charles Stanley may have been a “bit late to the party” when it came to the intermediary discretionary market, but that it was looking to expand.

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Mr Teper said it was “undoubtedly the case” that there will be more hires to the firm’s adviser-facing sales team and to its strategic partners team as the firm looked to increase awareness of the brand among advisers.

He said: “One of our tasks is to get ourselves better known by intermediaries and so we are looking for stronger sales teams to build relationships with intermediaries and platforms.”

He also said that Charles Stanley was looking to actively participate in the consolidation of the discretionary management industry, which has seen a stream of smaller independent regional offices acquired by larger networks in recent years.

“All of this consolidation leads to opportunities for us,” he said. “We will certainly hope to see more hires.”

Charles Stanley currently has 30 regional offices across the UK and is set to open an office in Leicester at the end of the month after it poached 19 members of staff from rival Brewin Dolphin’s office in the city.

In addition to seeking to boost its presence with advisers, Charles Stanley has also embarked upon a re-pricing exercise, which a spokesperson described as “a hugely exhaustive process taking into account client situations across Charles Stanley and historic models of blended multi-product pricing via a review panel”.

The firm’s discretionary funds under management grew by 28 per cent to £6.4bn in its last financial year, to March 31 2013, while the firm’s total assets under management only grew by 14 per cent.

The three months to the end of June showed the same trend, as total assets dropped by 0.3 per cent even though discretionary assets grew 1.4 per cent, although the firm does not break down the assets brought in from intermediaries.

In terms of its discretionary investment options, Mr Teper said Charles Stanley was looking to roll out its model portfolio services on to more platforms, but said “getting on each one takes some time”.

Mr Teper said Charles Stanley was “relatively underrepresented” on platforms, even though he said the majority of new business in the discretionary industry from advisers was platform based.

However, he said Charles Stanley was looking instead to emphasise its bespoke discretionary service, which he said stood out compared to peers because it was truly bespoke, tailored to each individual, which he said many peers did not do.