Hargreaves founder backs UK fund manager launch

Hargreaves founder backs UK fund manager launch

An investment management firm which is backed by the co-founder of Hargreaves Lansdown is launching a range of funds in the UK this year.

Stephen Lansdown owns a 30 per cent stake in Guernsey-headquartered Ravenscroft Investment Management, making him the biggest shareholder in the business.

Ravenscroft, which oversees assets of £2.5bn in the Channel Islands, is now looking to tap into the UK market, starting with the launch of two funds in June.

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Speaking exclusively to FTAdviser, Mark Harries, head of Ravenscroft’s UK arm, said: “A lot of the medium-sized wealth management firms have disappeared or upscaled in this increasingly difficult regulatory environment.”

Mr Harries, who used to head up the multi-manager team at Aberdeen Asset Management, pointed to the surge in consolidation in the wealth management industry, and said the downside of this was clients are often treated like a number, rather than as individuals.

While he said Ravenscroft has an ambitious long-term growth plan, he also stressed this was not an “asset grab” but was instead about providing a high level of service for clients.

“We think our industry is very poor at going to potential clients and asking what they want,” he said, adding Ravenscroft is currently gathering feedback to understand what clients want in terms of investments, reporting and fees.

The UK is currently plagued with uncertainty as Article 50 is set to be triggered this week, but Mr Harries said Ravenscroft was not worried about the impact of Brexit.

"I thing there is always lots to worry about every year; our launch in the UK is a long-term plan.”

Ravenscroft has three offshore fund of funds, called the ‘Huntress’ range, and plans to make a mirror of its balanced strategy available to UK investors in June.

It will also launch a Global Blue Chip fund, which invests in the shares of around 25 “shopping trolley” stocks such as Disney and Unilever. 

Mr Harries said: “The Blue Chip team does not waste any time trying to predict political or economic events, and focuses instead on the quality of the underlying companies.” 

Ravenscroft is also exploring options to have the funds on an investment platform.

The firm partnered with British discretionary fund manager Vartan in 2015, which has discretionary permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority. 

Mr Lansdown, who is the former chairman of FTSE 100 firm Hargreaves, became a shareholder in 2012 and was appointed non-executive director in 2015.

Speaking to FTAdviser, Mr Lansdown said: “When I moved to Guernsey seven years ago I was introduced to Ravenscroft as a client when I was looking for a local broker."

He said he could not use Hargreaves Lansdown because the FTSE 100 firm does not offer offshore services.

But he said he was "very impressed" with the service he received from Ravenscroft, adding he was keen to help the company develop.