Investment manager in intermediary push

Investment manager in intermediary push

Smith and Williamson Investment Management is spearheading a push into the intermediary market, with the appointment of Lucy Mitchell as an associate director responsible for building relationships with advisers.

Hired this time last month from being a business development manager at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, her role will be to develop further the managed portfolio service, as well as the bespoke discretionary fund management offering for the intermediary market.

She will report to Mickey Morrissey, the firm’s head of distribution, who told FTAdviser that since joining two and a half years ago, he has been on a mission to build a presence in the intermediary space.

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“We came from nothing really, so there was a lot of catching up to do, but our push coincided nicely with the RDR and the trend towards outsourcing investment management capabilities,” explained Mr Morrissey.

“The firm is actually just about to undergo a ‘brand uplift’, as we appear to be the best kept secret in the market. We’re trying to get our name out there, but not through hiring lots of regional sales guys, rather getting in someone with Lucy’s experience to look after key relationships and introduce new ones.”

Around the same time as Mr Morrissey came on board, the firm’s veteran head of multi-manager James Burns started up the managed portfolio service, which has performed well since launch - the balanced growth portfolio returning 33.9 per cent since 2012 compared to the Distribution Technology composite benchmark return of 25.45 per cent, for example.

Mr Burns said that the service also has a useful differentiator in that it is the only one in the sector to offer investment companies, alongside traditional active funds and exchange-traded funds.

So far the managed portfolio service is running with three platforms - Ascentric, Novia and Verbatim - and they are “not looking to proliferate” according to Mr Burns, who said that they are happy to be picky with wrap relationships.

Mr Morrissey added that administration is particularly important in this space. “There’s no need to be all things to all men, we’d rather work closely with a few than spread ourselves thinly across them all.”

Ed Rosengarten, a partner and head of the funds business, added: “The appointment of Lucy is a strong signal to the market of our intention to develop further our wealth management capability in the IFA market.”