Arguing the case for ‘cooperation’

CS Investment Managers’ Robert Darling believes collaboration between competitors on regulatory change is a must if the industry wants to punch above its weight

Robert Darling, CS Investment Managers
Robert Darling


Q: What is the biggest change you have seen in the industry since you joined?

That the level of consolidation of firms, across different disciplines, has accelerated. There has been a definite increase in the number of transactions, right across the industry, which shows no signs of slowing. The cliché that change is the only constant stands true. Speaking as someone who worked through the era of demutualisation fuelled by the then-termed ‘carpetbaggers’, we are seeing the dynamics of the industry change. Is it for the better? And if yes, who is it better for?

See also: Asset managers have an important role, they can drive change for the better

Q: What is the investment topic most brought up by clients/investors?

What we are finding at the moment is that private clients are focusing more on working with an investment manager who can deliver the level of service and contact they are not getting elsewhere. They will look around the market for a manager that better suits their objectives. Bespoke portfolios that more accurately meet investor objectives are very prevalent, as opposed to more ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions. Intergenerational asset management is also increasingly important for clients. Being able to build a strategy that caters for different risk levels, timescales and objectives is high on the agenda.

Q: What piece of regulation makes the biggest impact on your day-to-day role?

The standout would be Consumer Duty. For a directly authorised boutique investment management company like ours preparing for 31 July and evidencing how we meet the far-reaching requirements took time. Now it is here we are ensuring we live and breathe all the principles of the new regulation.

See also: Consumer Duty impacts active-passive debate

The Senior Managers and Certification Regime is another important piece of regulation shaping everything we do. Having a robust operating structure and clarity of roles and responsibilities ensures we comply with the regulation but also, importantly, continue to drive consistency into delivering exceptional investor experiences.

To read the rest of this article visit the October edition of Portfolio Adviser Magazine