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Wealth Manager: How Cornelian will thrive where others fail

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by Annabelle Williams on Jan 10, 2013 at 00:01

Edinburgh’s  investment scene has been far from quiet in the past few years, with some established players struggling, start-ups aplenty and one national wealth manager announcing plans to exploit the ‘turmoil’ facing the region.

Against this backdrop, an altogether quieter but nonetheless ambitious project is underfoot at Cornelian Asset Management. The wealth manager, with a single office in Scotland’s capital and around 500 clients, has plans to double its £450 million in assets under management (AUM) within the next five years, and is working to expand its reach beyond the Scottish borders.

‘We have the capacity now in place to grow on the private client side but equally we have made a big investment in the intermediary side,’ says chief investment officer Hector Kilpatrick. ‘We have increased our footprint so that we now have an intermediary sales and business development manager in the Midlands.’

One business development manager is spending a ‘substantial’ amount of time in London, working with intermediaries to increase Cornelian’s AUM, which has grown by around 50% in the last five years. ‘We see a great opportunity to get the message across about our investment credentials and we are investing a lot of time and money in doing that,’ Kilpatrick explains.

Crucial to any wealth manager’s expansion plans is the investment product, and in Cornelian’s case this is led by Kilpatrick, who had considerable fund management experience under his belt before he came on board in June 2010.

He gained a reputation as a decent fund manager at equity specialist SVM Asset Management, where he worked for nearly five years and ran the SVM UK Alpha fund. For several years from 2008, he regularly achieved top-decile performance and was often a recipient of Citywire AA or A ratings.


Cornelian Asset Managers approached Kilpatrick around the time it was planning to launch a range of risk managed funds.

‘That was really the reason for me coming over,’ he says, since he saw  ‘tremendous’ growth potential in those funds.

Although Kilpatrick is now the chief investment officer, a director of Cornelian and responsible for stock selection, his early career began quite differently.

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