Wealth management boutique European Wealth, founded early in 2011, provides investment management and financial planning to private clients, institutions, trustees and charities. It has eight offices in the UK, with assets under management of £1.4bn in 2015.
Its asset allocation team consists of: investment director Richard Stammers; head of international equity Bruce Albrecht; executive chairman John Morton; head of UK equity Darron Preston; and head of fixed income Nigel Marsh, while Marianne Hay is a non-executive member.
“We all bring something different to the party,” says Stammers. “The only thing we have in common are a few grey hairs and a lot of years.”
London-based Stammers develops European Wealth’s market views and asset allocation strategies. He chairs the investment management and collectives committees, and is a member of the equity committee.
According to him, the key to effective asset allocation is a blend of top-down and bottom-up strategy. From a top-down perspective the team is looking at the major asset categories, then down into regional and thematic asset classes.
He says: “We use a broad brush: do we want an exposure to, say, a particular theme in infrastructure, or do we want a broad emerging markets exposure?
“The investment committee’s job is to review that, starting with the thought process over preceding quarters and how well that has worked out. Has anything changed, do we need to make any changes to where we are at the moment in light of what’s happening around us?”
In the relatively low-return environment we are in, Stammers says the team is trying to make sure every asset the firm has is working as hard as possible. “We are keen that where we do have exposure, it will really contribute to the portfolio, or we will question why we have got it. We are very conviction-driven.”
Let the dust settle
Stammers recognises that the 24-hour media environment can be very confusing to many and can trigger irrational investments. The EU referendum debate was a clear example of this.
With regards to the Brexit result, Stammers did not think it necessary to have an extra meeting to discuss it; better to wait and let the dust to settle.
“We are aiming not to be reactive to short-term noise,” he says. “Evidence suggests that trying to micro manage is impossible, and we certainly don’t think we can do that any more than anybody else.”