Smith & Williamson  

Interview: Ed Rosengarten

At the start of the year, Mr Rosengarten told Investment Adviser the company was considering launching a European equity long/short fund for Giles Worthington.

He says: “I like a high-conviction approach to long portfolios in the equity space. I also like a long/short, non-directional stockpicking approach. We do that very successfully in the UK and we are considering doing that in Europe, but there’s no hurry. We see it as an interesting opportunity over the next period.

“Obviously the bigger firms can produce product after product after product. We’re very much fund manager and investment-led. When the fund manager feels comfortable, feels confident and feels there’s an opportunity out there for them to generate returns, then we consider how we develop that.

“But I don’t see product development or new funds as being the cornerstone of our growth opportunity here,” he points out. 

“It’s frankly about great managers connecting with the external market in a high-touch way and gathering assets in a sustainable fashion. That’s the mandate I’ve been given here, that’s what it’s about; it’s not short-term, it’s not quick fixes, it’s not ideas on a whim, it’s not faddish. It’s more considered and more long term.”

One area he is exploring though is the acquisition of funds or fund management businesses. He admits it is “low down” on his list but that he is keeping an open mind.

“It’s sensible that we’ve not talked about it because it’s not a significant part of our strategy,” he notes. “However, there are some smaller businesses out there, and I have spoken to some, where I think we could be a really interesting home for the fund managers and the funds. S&W is in a strong [financial] position and there are opportunities for us to attract entities on a fairly rare but occasional basis.”

He adds: “In my former life at City Financial we did acquire a small fund management business and it can work really well. You see quite a lot of corporate activity in this sector and I like to feel we are one of the potential recipients or acquirers of those opportunities on a very discerning basis.”

Elsewhere, he has ambitions for S&W to engage with the Swiss market on what he refers to as “a selective basis from a funds perspective”. Mr Rosengarten has experience of launching in Europe, having been part of a similar initiative at M&G. 

“I think it will be interesting to see what they think of a UK long/short equity fund,” he muses.