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The ex-JP Morgan wealth specialists ready to disrupt the market

The ex-JP Morgan wealth specialists ready to disrupt the market
Lewis Hamm (left), and Carl Stelfox (right)

Two former JP Morgan risk and wealth management specialists are ready to disrupt the retail investment management sector after launching a bespoke service for a wider set of clients. 

Lewis Hamm and Carl Stelfox, who met while working at the US bank, set up bespoke discretionary investment manager O-IM last month after becoming frustrated with the services they were using.

The firm is described as a multi-asset, multi-strategy investment manager that allocates to a broad range of products and believes in direct equity exposure alongside passive and active funds. 

It offers fully managed portfolios, trading (with or without advice) and consultancy for a broad segment of clients with investable assets between £250,000 and £5m, which the pair believes are "underserved" by current providers. 

Hamm told FTAdviser: “We’ve got to the point where the world has changed significantly, and whenever there’s worldwide disruption, there’s the opportunity to disrupt within industry as well.

“[Investment management] is still quite antiquated as a service, and a lot of investment approaches go down the fund of fund approach for a lot of advisers.

“Whereas, for the market that we think is being underserved, somewhere in the £250,000 and £5m mark...we feel [they] could benefit the most from dedicated investment management services and may not have previously considered it, either because they were utilising a financial planner for a wider suite of services, haven’t previously invested but have experienced a liquidity event (such as inheritance, business sale, have a meaningful disposal income) or wanted something more bespoke."

Stelfox added it was his own experiences that had led him to set up a new firm.

“My [motivation] was due to ongoing frustrations with current providers and Lewis and I share a passion for making sure that the client is really central to everything we do.

“For me, the two key things were firstly around transparency, so what’s actually going on behind closed doors, and the second is ease of use of technology, so how can we make [the process] as seamless as possible without bundles and bundles of paper.” 

He said the main frustrations were the lack of active management on a discretionary basis due to the high use of funds and the inability to digitise quickly enough, as well as fee transparency and value for those fees.

O-IM offers fully managed portfolios, trading and consultancy. It is targeting high net worth individuals “who would benefit from personalised advice but also crave ease of use, simplicity and unpretentious ‘anytime, anywhere’ service”, according to a statement released on its launch.

The firm’s investment proposition will also be provided to financial advisers as a DFM and will offer allocation to a broad range of products including direct equity exposure, as well as passive and active funds.