Exeter wealth manager targets aggressive adviser expansion

Hawksmoor Investment Management is targeting an aggressive expansion into the financial adviser arena with its redesigned bespoke discretionary management service.

The Exeter-based wealth manager brought in Jim Wood-Smith and Henry Rising from Investec Wealth & Investment (IW&I) in January to boost its discretionary service and raise its profile among advisers.

Mr Wood-Smith, who joined as head of research, claimed Hawksmoor’s new bespoke service “fits the financial adviser area perfectly”, working easily with the suitability and risk software that the industry already uses.

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Only 20 per cent of the assets Hawksmoor currently manages come from financial advisers, but Mr Wood-Smith said in the future “the biggest growth in the business is going to come from financial advisers”.

The hiring of Mr Wood-Smith and Mr Rising was a significant coup for Hawksmoor, as Mr Wood-Smith had established a considerable reputation in the discretionary management world, first as head of research at Williams de Broë and then as chief investment strategist at IW&I.

Mr Rising had also worked with Mr Wood-Smith at both Williams de Broë and Investec.

Mr Wood-Smith said he and Mr Rising were looking to build on a process they had developed at Williams de Broë, developing an asset allocation and risk control framework that Mr Wood-Smith claimed would be “something new in the marketplace”.

He said the relatively small size of Hawksmoor’s £200m business would give him an unprecedented level of control over the bespoke portfolio service.

“I will have the ability to create mandates closely controlling both the asset allocation and the risk, which is something I was never able to do in larger-sized businesses,” said Mr Wood-Smith.

“For example, rather than say that our UK large-cap equities allocation has a risk rating of five, what we can say is that within UK large-cap equities we will know the risk of all the funds we hold and all the equities we hold.”

Mr Wood-Smith and Mr Rising are currently on the road promoting the new strategy, as part of what Mr Wood-Smith called a new “proactive” approach to raising the profile of the firm.

He said the firm had not been good enough at making people aware of its expertise and its range of solutions.