Firing line  

'Working in a smaller team is liberating'

'Working in a smaller team is liberating'
Gabrielle Boyle, investment director and head of research at Troy Asset Management

When Gabrielle Boyle arrived in London in 1990, the City was a very different experience for both Irish people and for women starting in fund management. 

And the range of investment issues that mattered to clients and their advisers have evolved in that time as well.

In 1990, the Berlin Wall had just fallen, new markets were opening up and the inflation that had been the scourge of investors during the preceding 20 years was receding into the past, heralding a period of strong economic growth – something that lasted right up until the global financial crisis in 2008. 

But for Boyle, who began at Lazard Asset Management, despite all of the changes in the world since she began investing, her approach has not changed now that she is at Troy many years later. 

She says: “When I was starting out, I could see all of this disruption in geopolitics, but also, in those times, before the euro currency existed, one of the major things we obsessed about every day was currency movements in Italy or Germany. But what that period of time taught me was there were certain companies that seemed to progress and grow no matter happened, so I began to focus on those, and still do that now.”

Boyle runs the £450m Troy Global Equity fund, and is also a member of both the executive committee and the board of directors of Troy Asset Management, a business with £15bn assets under management. 

That AUM figure places Troy a long way behind the behemoths of the industry, but the experience of working for such a business came right at the start of her career at Lazard. 

Of the contrasting experiences she says: “Working in a smaller team is very liberating. I joined Troy 10 years ago when they had a small fund they wanted to make global. I had been at Lazard for 12 years and was a managing director, but at a smaller firm, where the entire investment team is 14 people, I can just get on and manage the money in a sensible way, and in the way the firm wants.

"I think managing money for people is one of the greatest jobs in the world, and being at a smaller firm allows me to concentrate more on that."

Troy was founded by Sebastian Lyon and others at the instigation of Lord Arnold Weinstock, at the time one of the UK’s wealthiest people who was looking to create a business to manage his personal wealth. Weinstock had been chief executive of GEC and was criticised by some market participants for an overly cautious style. This has subsequently been mirrored by Troy, a business with a range of funds all run with “capital preservation” at its core. 

The fact there is one over-arching investment style, says Boyle, means that as a smaller business in a world where the industry is increasingly consolidating, Troy can compete.