International financial advice will continue to be part of Investment Quorum’s (IQ) skill set but UK acquisitions are central to new chief executive Petronella West’s strategy, she revealed to International Adviser.
Commenting on Lee Robertson’s departure after 18 years at the helm, co-founder West said: “Lee has worked tirelessly building the firm…his legacy is very strong.
“He already had a lot of external interests; he is involved in the guild of entrepreneurs and he has said; he prefers building businesses to running them.
“He felt his skill set lay elsewhere,” added West.
In a post on LinkedIn, Robertson said he wanted to focus on a portfolio career, including the launch of a new business – as well as serving as a consultant to IQ.
He told IA’s sister publication Portfolio Adviser he had “a new online business idea within financial services” but declined to divulge further details.
Investment Quorum’s management buyout
On IQ’s future, West said it was important that 90% of the firm’s staff are now shareholders.
As part of the change in leadership, West led the buyout of Robertson’s stake with investment chief Peter Lowman and wealth manager Nicholas Rolf.
Lowman has run IQ’s asset management division since 2006, building up £250m ($319m, €278m) in assets under management.
West said the ownership structure was about the longevity of the business, working in partnership with clients.
“Our clients’ future is secure because of our team,” she said
To that end, West acknowledges the need to build scale in the business: “We are looking at acquisitions. The cheques are bigger, people are offering a lot of money for good firms.
“We aim to reach £600m in five year’s, time with some modest acquisitions.”
International financial advice
“Clients move,” said West. “We have got to be strong and flexible. We have a good understanding of international [financial advice] but I’m wary of offshore and the individuals who work in that space.
“Offshore, there are not the regulatory and consumer protections.
“We already work with a private bank to offer international financial planning, ex-US, but for the time being, no, we won’t be expanding internationally.”
For West, she will be busy enough serving a high net worth UK clientele and preparing the business for, what she predicts will be, increased regulatory involvement in the business affairs of financial advisers.