One year on, Collins Stewart Wealth Management’s decision to open an office in Geneva has been fully vindicated despite – and, indeed, partly because of – the turmoil in world financial markets.
Managed by Jerseyman Glenn Coxon, a permanent presence in Switzerland was seen initially as a strategic step for Collins Stewart Wealth Management but over the past 12 months the Geneva office has also generated significant business.
‘As cash rates have collapsed worldwide our fixed income solutions have been of particular interest,’ said Glenn, who has over 12 years of portfolio management experience having joined Collins Stewart Wealth Management in 1997. ‘They provide the scope to beat cash yields, and protect against future inflation threats, while being predominantly invested in Government-backed bonds with the highest of credit ratings.’
Clients have also been attracted to the stability and independence of parent Collins Stewart plc, which has a full London listing and a strong balance sheet with net cash in excess of £75m (as at 30 April 2009).
The Geneva office works closely with the Collins Stewart Wealth Management offices in the Channel Islands, which have extensive experience of managing the assets of offshore trusts and working with trustees and estate planners. This is a growing market in Switzerland as clients look to structure their affairs with more thought given to estate and tax planning.
‘With an estimated 30 per cent of the world’s private offshore assets, Switzerland is at the centre of the private wealth management sector,’ said Glenn. ‘Over the past year we have established a wide range of relationships with over 100 Swiss-based intermediaries, and our commitment to excellence in client servicing has certainly struck a chord with the local client base.’
‘The client comes first and being immediately available in the same jurisdiction makes all the difference.’
‘We have also been able to build on the resources of the wider group, with a number of our specialists visiting the region recently including our Chief Investment Officer (Nigel Cuming), our Head of Fixed Income (Chris Huelin), our Head of Equity Selection (Ryan Harrison) and the manager of our successful fund of hedge funds, the Collins Stewart Absolute Return Plus Fund (Richard Hodgetts).’
A series of quarterly breakfast meetings has also been very popular, allowing clients to meet the key decision makers in various elements of Collins Stewart Wealth Management’s investment process.
‘The variety of the opportunities is very broad here,’ explained Glenn. ‘In only the last two months we have been asked for a bespoke portfolio management solution from a very wealthy family, as well as helping an advisory client invest in a number of distressed equity situations.’
‘Strategically, Geneva will become a key geography as we bring our commitment to performance and service levels to a broader audience, balancing the solid backing of Collins Stewart Plc with our reputation for independence and our award-winning discretionary investment process.’
Neil Darke, Head of Wealth & Fund Management at Collins Stewart plc, added: ‘Our independent approach is perceived as an attractive alternative in a market dominated by the large banks. Collins Stewart has no obligations or “ties”, so we offer objective advice and recommendations, based on the client’s best interest.’
‘Although we launched our Geneva operation by predominantly offering our discretionary wealth management services, our belief that there was a great opportunity to grow all aspects of our wealth and fund management businesses has been fully borne out – an opportunity that has been enhanced rather than hampered by the upheaval in financial markets.’
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Notes to Editors
Collins Stewart Wealth Management (“CSWM”) is a leading portfolio manager and stockbroker with an absolute focus on preserving and growing wealth through excellence, every day. CSWM manages and advises on £4.9bn1 of assets through its offices in London, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man and Geneva. More information on CSWM is available at http://www.canaccordgenuity.com/wm/
1 as at 31/12/08
Collins Stewart Plc is a leading independent, financial services group listed on the London Stock Exchange. Collins Stewart Plc employs almost 700 staff in 10 international locations and is organised around four operational divisions: Advisory, Corporate Broking, Securities and Wealth Management, all served by its unique research tool, Quest™. More information at http://www.canaccordgenuity.com/wm/
The above description of Collins Stewart plc is communicated by Collins Stewart Europe Limited, a company authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) (with firm reference number: 182011). The FSA’s principle place of business is at 25 the North Colonnade, London, E14 5HS.