Paterson talks to Spear’s straight from an investors’ meeting that he describes as ‘very positive: markets have been pretty supportive and our tactical positioning has put us probably between 1 and 1.5 per cent ahead of the ARC relative numbers for the first quarter’. That’s no doubt good news for his clients, most of whom are families looking to protect rather than risk wealth.
The former Linguaphone CEO says the ‘coalface’ experience of running a business is invaluable in wealth management and is appreciated by clients. No doubt, is his experience running the Unigestion family office between 2001 and 2010 and his work prior to that at client advisory services Guinness Mahon and Granville Baird.
Something else they appreciate is his ‘Introduction to the City’. While many firms have emphasised next generational offerings Stanhope have refined theirs to fit with an increasingly holisitic family approach from the expert investors. ‘A lot of clients want their children to have the experience of what it’s like working in a wealth management business, so we have a very high demand for internships this year.’
Spear’s suggests corporate nepotism. ‘You mean, would Mr Clegg approve? I don’t think there’s a conflict. A key part of our business model here is that we are aligned with our clients in investment terms. Our natural instinct is obviously to look after, as best as we can, the families who have entrusted us with their wealth.’ That applies as much to children as to cash. Such service is crucial he says, himself managing only around 20 client families as well as running a family balance sheet seminar where clients can spend time with an expert in one of the key asset classes they invest in.
Stanhope are also looking to cater for their clients by maintaining proximity having recently added a Jersey office to their London and Geneva bases. The means more frequent trips to the Channel Islands for Paterson to service ‘an accelerated level of interest’. Another area where they’ve seen considerable client pick-up is real estate and equity where he says they’ve been increasing their research and expertise in order to weigh up liquidity arguments properly: ‘Most clients given a simple choice between a liquid investment they could change and a illiquid one – obviously a rational client is going to say “there is a premium for remaining liquid”. However it depends on the size of the premium and we have demonstrated significant out-performance in private assets, in illiquid, assets over quoted markets, over quoted equities, in the last ten years and when we discuss with clients what the opportunities are in private equity and private real estate they become very interested,’ he says.
It’s an innovative approach that has seen Stanhope grow considerably in recent years, not only in AuM but in stature and reputation to now resemble an investment world darling looking after established institutions and charities as well as client families. That’s something the Jersey expansion will help with he says as they already look after a number of Channel Island trust companies.
Away from work he devotes time to gardening and country pursuits. ‘I often escape to our home in the country where I’m surrounded by daughters and dogs basically,’ he chuckles.