Ed Rosengarten had spent 18 years at M&G Investments by the time he left in 2010, in favour of a move that has become more commonplace in recent years: helping found a start-up fund business.
With that firm, Eden Asset Management, soon being bought by City Financial, Mr Rosengarten moved on again to Smith & Williamson (S&W) in 2014.
Mr Rosengarten explains: “They wanted to create a role that brought the fund managers together – with those doing sales, marketing and distribution under a single head, which happened to be me.”
His first job in the new role was to assess the fund management offering at S&W and consider which managers were delivering against their objectives and mandates. He describes going through the range “with a fine-toothed comb”.
As a result, the firm hired Tim Day and Chris Ford, former co-heads of global equities at Pictet Asset Management, to run S&W’s North American Trust and the Mid Ocean World fund.
The business went through that process within the first 12 to 18 months of his arrival, before attention turned to sales.
“This involved looking at where we’re strong, what the opportunities are and drawing in new people where we feel we’ve got areas we need to develop,” he adds. “That pretty much drew to a close six months ago. Earlier this year we hired two additional sales people from Capital Group and a couple from Liontrust.
“That’s about recognising the best way we are going to be able to successfully market and sell our funds is through independent discretionary fund managers (DFMs) in the UK. These are the clients we think we’ll be most able to connect with.”
Mr Rosengarten notes it’s important for the DFM market to easily communicate with, and get access to, S&W’s fund managers. “Managers are more than happy to engage with the DFM market whether it’s on the conference circuit or regional one-on-ones. I think it’s quite important you give access to managers in a way that other groups, for the obvious reasons, struggle to do.”
He highlights the firm’s flagship funds: the S&W Short Dated Corporate Bond fund managed by Ian Kenny, and Tineke Frikkee’s £53m UK Equity Income fund. But he also expresses the need to increase the assets under management in some portfolios – from around £50m to closer to £100m in the case of Ms Frikkee’s fund. She had been running billions of pounds of assets at BNY Mellon, which she left to join S&W in 2013.
He believes: “It’s about connecting with more clients, intermediaries and independent DFMs in particular and you probably need to extend your distribution team and some other hires to give you those connections, so there are some interesting conversations going on about that.”