Mike Webb is chief executive of Rathbone Unit Trust Management, joining in 2010. With more than 25 years’ industry experience, he was formerly at Hermes Fund Managers, where he was head of business development. Previous roles include chief executive of Invesco Perpetual, prior to which he was managing director of the retail division of GT Global Asset Management, and sales and marketing director of Prolific Financial Management.
What is your strategy and overarching achievement since joining Rathbones?
I am a member of the group executive committee that manages Rathbones on a day-to-day basis. I have oversight responsibility for marketing and third-party distribution, wealth management, funds and other specialist tax and trust products and services.
It is a strategy we have pursued since 1 January 2015, and part of a longer-term growth plan that drew me to Rathbones in April 2010, when I became chief executive officer of the unit trust business.
I was brought in to revive the unit trust business that had been growing nicely until the 2008 financial crisis, but then had tougher times for the rest of 2008, 2009 and into 2010. We have been very successful. From a low point in mid-April 2010 of about £750m under management, our assets have grown to £3.66bn at the end of August.
What is the split between wealth management services, assets and specific funds?
We do not actively market to our wealth management cousins. My feeling is this business has to stand or fall on its own merits, which means raising third-party assets.
We think about our funds in the context of two primary ranges. One, which is directly invested funds, such as the Rathbone Income, Global Opportunities or the Ethical Bond, which are essentially component parts of other people’s portfolios. Our wealth management guys own 1.7% of that, so the rest is all external.
We then have a range of multi-asset funds where they own slightly more. These funds are risk-targeted, so we run it from a risk perspective first, and benchmark it against absolute return-type benchmarks.
These funds are absolutely ideal for wealth managers where they come across lower value, less complex clients. They will tend to provide that service through the Unit Portfolio Service, which is a discretionary account that buys multi-asset funds.
They are run to the same investment process as the rest of the wealth management division but within a fund that provides scale and therefore cost benefits to the end client. Again, there are significant external assets involved.
What assets does Rathbones have in the overall business?
We are a £31bn business, the fourth-largest wealth management provider in the UK.
On the wealth management side, we are big acquirers of businesses. We have grown significantly during the past 10 years. Rathbones is a well-known name in the UK for wealth management services but not so well known internationally.
From an international perspective, we started to roll out our wealth management services to a select group of distributors in January 2015, for example Trafalgar International and Abbey Financial Solutions.
What attracted us to those firms was that they predominantly target expatriate communities, principally in Europe. They felt Rathbones had the kind of British brand that would appeal to expat investors. They were looking for a blue-blooded business with deep history and a good quality name.
That was the start of our European expansion. In May, we launched a number of Luxembourg funds to complement that. Three months on, we have more than £180m under management in those funds.
Rathbones is unusual in that it has a credible fund business, particularly in the multi-asset space, direct businesses and a well-respected wealth management service.