With his own pension invested alongside his clients’ money Black has every reason to be candid.
‘On the markets front it’s been pretty difficult, it’s been two steps forward, three steps back.’ Nevertheless he says, relative performance has been good over the last three or four years, particularly in balanced and multi-asset mandates. He attributes that to strong focus on continuity, and loyalty to the firm and clients.
‘I think we have a pretty peerless track record of staff continuity because the revolving door revolves pretty rapidly in our industry – clients appreciate that.’ Sarasin’s returns record is also strong, something the Scot contributes to sustainable income streams to offset lean markets.
‘If you look back at the history of stock market returns, if you can have a strong focus on the potential for income growth, whether you are looking for an income or not, that element has tended to be the biggest driver of total return. That’s something we’ve been very focused on over the last year or two.’
Black works hard to make sure clients, especially families, fully understand the market and macro-economic trends he tracks, often enrolling the next generation in the firm’s internship scheme, ‘there’s a lot of value there and we enjoy doing it and seem to get a good reception.’
He’s also keen to make all those in his client families feel involved: as a rule, he avoids jargon, especially when sitting down and explaining what risk profiling means and what the potential implications are for their drawdown: ‘Our clients regularly say they find it a very easy way of illustrating the point for them to follow,’ he says.
Jamie Black won Asset Manager of the Year for UHNWs at the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards 2015