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Wealth Manager Profile: Lord Anthony Balniel
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by David Campbell on Oct 29, 2009 at 00:01
It is considered fashionable at the beginning of personal profiles to provide a list of the changes that the subject has seen through the course of their August career. For Lord Balniel, head of private clients at JO Hambro Investment Management (Johim), those changes are more literal than most.
Balniel was among the first in the finance industry to arrive in London’s West End, then the province of a very different kind of boutique, and has seen it develop from there into the hedge fund ghetto it has now become.
‘We first moved here in 1986, into a very nice townhouse in Queen Anne’s Gate. It was a novel thing back then to be operating from the West End. Now there are wealth managers all over the place.’
As much as the neighbourhood, he has seen the company change around him, from a plucky little maverick investment management business trying to shake up the brokerage-obsessed 1980s, to its current position near the top of the food chain of boutique-style wealth managers.
Founded in 1986, the company now manages £2.8 billion on behalf of 750-odd family groups and has ambitious plans to grow assets through third-party adviser portfolio management.
Balniel was recruited as a founding partner alongside his colleague David Chaplin.
‘Private client was regarded at the time as a second-class career. Anyone who had any real aptitude or promise was directed into the institutional side, where all the money was being made.'
The company launched in late 1986 with around £40 million in assets under management from seed capital and Balniel and Chaplin’s loyal client base.
Big signings were a central plank of strategy, with the directors calculating that unless they could demonstrate heavy-hitting investment expertise they would have little chance of gaining client credibility as a new business.