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Wealth Manager: Charles Stanley's Guildford head on local opportunities
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by James Phillipps on May 03, 2012 at 00:01
Despite only having decided to up sticks and change jobs once in his career, Charles Stanley’s Charles Turton has worked for a surprisingly large number of private client managers in his time.
Few other sectors have seen as much consolidation as financial services over the years and Turton’s Guildford office could almost be used as a barometer of the changing face of wealth management over the past two decades.
After graduating from Durham University, he joined the local office of Greig Middleton in 1994 as a trainee stockbroker. The firm later merged with Allied Provincial, before being acquired by Gerrard Vivian Gray and merging with Capel Cure Sharp to morph into Gerrard Investment Management and then later Barclays Wealth in 2003.
The last change of ownership ultimately proved decisive, prompting him to move over to Charles Stanley in 2007 to help set up its Guildford office. His colleagues soon followed.
‘I’ve only moved once, but have experienced at least four different work cultures,’ he says. ‘Through all of that, the important thing has been the continuity of staff and access – if the clients trust you as an investment manager, they will stay with you. We have lost very few clients over the years.
‘After we were acquired by Barclays, the first two years were pretty positive and things looked like they were pointing in the right direction, but the next two were less so. I was generally unhappy with the direction the firm was moving in – the centralisation and prescriptive portfolios.
‘We had brief retraining as private bankers and there was an expectation that we would sell the bank’s products.’
The office was not short of suitors, being long established in the affluent Surrey town, but it was Charles Stanley’s proposition that won Turton over.
‘It is a truly independent firm with no large single financial backer and it is committed to remain independent,’ he says.