Firing line  

Firing Line: 7IM boss on regaining a sense of purpose

The company has been active, completing its acquisition of £2bn London-based Partners Wealth Management in October and appointing ex-Aegon boss Adrian Grace as chairman the month before.

Mr Proctor, who only got to know Mr Grace during lockdown, says this appointment brings greater industry experience to the board, benefitting both the company and himself.

“It was clear we had found someone who knew the market very well,” he says. 

“Our board composition needed a practitioner in the space with a lot of longevity and track record. 

“Personally, you never stop learning, so it has been very helpful having someone like him on board to work with.”

With the Partners acquisition, at the time Mr Proctor said the company would be focusing on organic growth regardless of the success of the deal. He is unchanged in this view and says he has no ambitions to be a consolidator, adding his post-Covid strategy remains “almost identical” to his pre-Covid strategy.

He says: “There are no major adjustments. The time horizon for us achieving our strategic goals may have just pushed out 12 months as a result of Covid because of the natural impacts on our performance.”

Performance

The pandemic is not the only challenge facing wealth companies, with Brexit now only a few weeks away.

Mr Proctor says: “It is quite astonishing how much Brexit has fallen off the radar for some people. But we did all of our preparation in the second half of 2019. There is still a degree of uncertainty with Brexit, but we’ve heavily diversified.”

7IM, which has a financial year that runs from January to December, went into 2020 in a position of financial strength. 

In the last period assets under management grew 9.2 per cent, with pre-tax profits up 15 per cent to £9.3m. Mr Proctor says the company has held up well during this time, but warns the challenge they face is gaining new prospects in such a different operating environment.

“We have come through the period relatively well in terms of investment performance, and we want to be talking to as many people as possible about this. Prospecting is certainly more difficult in what has become a virtual environment.”

Though it may be difficult, Mr Proctor still wants to capitalise on the opportunities a post-Covid world has created, identifying the efficiency benefits of a remote working world through things such as e-signatures.

“We are about a third of a way through our journey and, with myself being results-focused, there is still plenty we want to get done,” he says.

“We have a very clear roadmap and I will not rest until it’s completed. There is still plenty of opportunity for 7IM to prosper in a pretty fragmented marketplace.”