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Walker Crips launches brand to exploit Welsh advice boom

Investment manager Walker Crips has announced the launch of Walker Cambria, a new brand that will operate out of a newly-opened office in Swansea to offer investment outsourcing solutions to advisers based in Wales.

Headed by Andrew Morgan and Gary Waite, the “unique brand” will provider both both bespoke and managed portfolio services as an outsourced solution for IFAs and wealth managers, similar to the service already offered in England and Scotland by the London-headquartered firm.

Rodney FitzGerald, chief executive at Walker Crips, said the launch of an office and brand to service the Welsh market separately reflected the fact that it is distinct from the rest of the UK due to the “growing local prominence of intermediaries”.

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Last month in an interview with FTAdviser, Craig Palfrey, partner at Cardiff-based adviser firm Penguin Wealth, highlighted the £85,000 grant his firm received from the Welsh Assembly Government as evidence of its desire to boost financial planning in the region.

Funding was provided to enable the firm to launch a web-based service targeting smaller-pot clients and came from a regional growth fund that is designed to support growth and boost employment in seven sectors across Wales, including financial services.

Mr Palfrey said: “The Welsh Assembly government wants to make Wales a hub for financial planning, for financial advice. They want us to create jobs... to get students into work.”

Last year the Welsh government issued a 22-page promotional document for the Cardiff enterprize zone for financial and professional services, in which it heralded south-east Wales as a centre of financial excellence.

The document cited in excess of 61,000 people who work in financial services, with a further 74,000 who work in the professional services sector. It also highlighted more than 25,000 financial and professional services students are studying across Wales

Mr FitzGerald said: “Walker Crips recognise that the Welsh market is different from that of the rest of the UK owing to the growing local prominence of intermediaries.

“The Walker Cambria brand will provide the platform for us to extend our highly tailored services to the investment intermediary community of Wales.”

Mr Morgan, originally from Carmarthenshire, has spent the majority of his career working as a fund manager at Mitsubishi-UFJ Asset Management where he specialised in UK and European equities.

Mr Waite began his career as a government economist in the department for culture, media and sport, before becoming a fund manager at CTC.

Supporting the fund management team will be Andrew Davies who joins Walker Cambria after seven years at Brewin Dolphin and will be responsible for new business development.

Mr FitzGerald added: “Walker Cambria is the latest addition in our targeted push for regional growth and reflects the success of our investment proposition. Andrew and Gary bring a wealth of industry experience and their local knowledge will be invaluable in enabling Walker Crips to serve the Welsh market.”