Firing line  

Oberon CEO: 'We don’t chase acquisitions'

“They’ve got their main portfolios with us, we run them carefully, we run them to their needs and their objectives. But then they say, ‘Are there any other special situations or other opportunities?’”

Pointing to equity crowdfunding platforms without experts overseeing investments, McGivern says: “You’ve got retail clients looking at investments which are quite risky. What we try and do is bring professionals in to look at those, meet the management teams, and find interesting opportunities for people.

“So we go from that side, all the way through to Smythe House, where we can advise now on pensions and mortgages.”

Like McGivern, Smythe House describes its approach as entrepreneurial. The advisory and wealth management service operates a “club-style environment”, facilitating networking between clients who are referred to as "members" of Smythe House.

McGivern says: “What traditional companies don’t seem to do, and we’re in a world of social media, is bring clients together and get them talking.

“One of the things we’re going to do much more of is events, where people can come along and meet each other. There won’t be any direct benefit for Oberon, but we know the clients would love it.”

Indeed, McGivern says he wants Oberon to be a brand that people associate with “real customer focus”.

He says: “What we’re trying to do is build up an all-service business [that] is based on what customers want. So if we get research and feedback from customers saying they want something, we’ll look at it and make sure it’s something that’s feasible and we can do.”

In terms of the future, McGivern says he hopes the group will get more than £1bn of assets under administration, after which the target is £2bn. Oberon group’s AUA grew to more than £600m in May from around £100m in 2018.

McGivern says: “I’m hoping we’ll get through £1bn of AUA relatively soon. And after that, you get great organic growth.”

Chloe Cheung is a features writer at FTAdviser