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A very good start to the year,’ Lee Robertson says. The former Spear’s Wealth Manager of the Year has recently picked up another UK wealth management chief executive of the year award in Hong Kong, and he doesn’t hide his pleasure. The former Navy intelligence operative is also pleased with the direction of growth in the firm he founded 18 years ago. ‘Five years ago clients came to us with half a million or £3 million. Now they come to us with between half a million and £20 million,’ he says. Robertson notes that the post-Lehman ‘decompression of the whole sector’ has brought passive funds back, a pattern he predicts will continue. He likes to remain agnostic in the active v passive fund debate: ‘We don’t think we have to pigeonhole ourselves into one or another.’ Passives can be used to ‘beat the American market’, but performance can’t be sustained if clients are left ‘holding the wrong stocks, the wrong funds or the wrong the managers’. Robertson continues: ‘It can be pretty grievous to your financial wealth so you’ve got to diversify with equities, bonds, property, commodities — and invest all across. If one of them takes a big pummelling, you hope the other four don’t.’ Clients are full of praise for Robertson — he once saved a couple’s Mirror Group pension from Robert Maxwell’s depredations, doubled their money and negotiated a redundancy package.

Lee Robertson