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Wealth Manager: how Nutmeg plans to become the Amazon of finance
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by James Phillipps on May 02, 2013 at 00:01
Londoners cannot have failed to see the adverts for Nutmeg peppering Tube carriages, and the new online discretionary manager’s profile received an unexpected boost from Barclays earlier this month when one of its analysts accidentally sent an email praising its website to the firm rather than to a colleague.
It certainly seems to be working. Co-founder and chief executive Nick Hungerford says it is early days, but Nutmeg, which only received its authorisation last October and began marketing in January, has already signed up over 11,000 clients with ‘loads’ transferring over funds.
The former stockbroker and banker’s mission is simple. He wants to break down the barriers to investment management and offer low cost diversified endowment-style portfolios to the masses.
The idea was born in Silicon Valley during the credit crunch when Hungerford was studying for an MBA at Stanford University. He had originally spent the summer of his gap year in California at the height of the dotcom boom in 1999, where he says he fell in love with the tech scene.
After completing his undergrad, he admits he got ‘sucked into banking’, spending six years at Barclays, latterly as a private client manager, before a stint at Brewin Dolphin, where he was a divisional director.
He speaks highly of his formative working years where he developed a passion for investment, but knew that ultimately, Silicon Valley was beckoning. ‘I was determined to get back to California, it is an amazing place. I went to Stanford University to study business and try to make some money,’ he says.
‘I had two fantastic years learning under some of the best professors you can ever meet, people who were advising the White House and IMF on how to deal with the falling markets.’
Despite the gloom of the financial crisis, the tech sector was enjoying a revival with the first iPhone being launched during his first year of study, sparking a frenzy to launch new apps.
‘As my classmates started building their businesses, I wondered what I should do,’ Hungerford recalls. ‘At the time, with the markets, I was getting more questions from friends about how they should be investing their money. For years beforehand, the answer then was that they were too poor for me to deal with professionally.