Asset Allocators: Harwood's Philbin and Mayo

Added 17th June 2016

Fresh from its takeover by Harwood Capital, Wellian Investment Solutions has taken on a more international flavour in its portfolios.

Asset Allocators: Harwood's Philbin and Mayo

Wellian Investment Solutions has undergone a fair few changes in recent months in its bid to become a bigger, more attractive discretionary investment manager.

The Tunbridge Wells-based business was acquired by London-based Harwood Capital 12 months ago. Then the renowned multi-manager and ex-Architas chief investment officer Richard Philbin joined as chief investment officer.

Here, Philbin and Mayo head up the strategy for the multi-manager investor that has £190m of assets under management and only buys collective investments.

Model workers

Wellian sources its clients via financial advisers, typically from south of London – generally from the Kent area – and is now seeking to widen its scope south of the M3 and M4 corridor.

It runs six model portfolios, including ethical and high-income. In addition, a range of passive models mirror the asset allocation of its conservative, income, balanced and growth mandates. No holding in any portfolio exceeds 15% or is less than 2% of its total.

While its model portfolios all have the same broad range of assets and are benchmarked against Asset Risk Consultants (ARC) guidelines, holdings are tailored to meet each model’s objective.

“The assets that you would find in our conservative portfolios are not going to be the same ones you find in the growth portfolios,” says Philbin.

“We set guidelines so clients know what they are going to get and the portfolios are available on third-party platforms, as well as our own investment system.”

Asset allocation decisions at Wellian are discussed during investment committee meetings that take place twice a month, but the investment team, Philbin says, “converses formally and informally all the time”.

In addition to the five committee members who have votes attending the investment meetings, non-voting members, a compliance manager, the sales team and external economists, who provide market insight, are also invited.

Philbin says: “Because we build the portfolios according to ARC, we don’t have that traditional approach of ‘our UK weight is 10%, do we go overweight or underweight that 10%?’.”

Instead, the team blends asset allocation to meet the objective of each portfolio.

“Each voting member starts with a blank spreadsheet and builds what they think is the ideal portfolio according to the objectives and regulations,” says Philbin. “That forms a discussion document for us.”




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