KW pins strategy reboot hopes on ex-Cazenove man

Richard Jeffrey to help wealth manager become a nationally recognised brand

City veteran and ex-Cazenove man Richard Jeffrey (pictured) has been roped in to chair KW Wealth’s investment committee as part of a major strategy overhaul which sees the firm vying to become a nationally recognised wealth management brand.

Jeffrey is a well-known commodity around the City, having served as the CIO and then chief economist at Schroders-owned wealth management arm Cazenove Capital. As Cazenove’s CIO he was responsible for a range of investment funds, including the group’s total return products.

Prior to that he was the COO at Ingenious Securities and served as the chief economist at Bridgewell Securities and Charterhous Bank. He began his career at Hoare Govett, eventually becoming head of economics and strategy.

Outside of the investment industry he has worked at several think tanks including the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. He also sat on the Council of Economic Advisors to successive shadow chancellors and provided economic advice within the team at 10 Downing Street during the 1992 election campaign.

Becoming a national brand

His appointment was unveiled in an announcement where KW said it was embarking on an “enhanced” strategy to provide new and existing clients with “unprecedented access” to high quality products, many of which it said are currently only available to institutional investors, and service on a cost-effective basis.

The UK wealth manager, which trades under Kingswood Holdings, currently has £1.9bn of assets under management and more than 4,500 active clients. But by building a “robust investment committee” with Jeffrey at the helm it said it hopes to become a leader in the UK wealth management space.

Jeffrey said he was excited to join KW at a “pivotal point” in the firm’s trajectory, adding it was “well on its way” to becoming a “nationally recognised wealth and investment management brand”.

Further committee members are to be confirmed in due course, the firm said.

KW Wealth has gone through several rounds of restructuring within the past year, most recently unveiling an “ambitious” three-year growth strategy, which includes the roll-out of a managed portfolio service.

This has resulted in a dramatic shake-up at the senior management level. Marianne Ismail, who was the group’s CEO, left abruptly earlier this year after only 18 months in the role. She had led the wealth manager’s rebranding from European Wealth after taking over for ex-chief executive John Morton in September 2017. Despite cutting out £1.4m of operating costs, the group reported widening losses in its annual results for 2017.

Ismail was replaced by executive deputy chairman Gary Wilder, who with incoming group finance director Patrick Goulding and group chief operating officer Graydon Butler, will be responsible for delivering the firm’s growth plans.

US M&A activity forthcoming

The firm has also been highly acquisitive of late, snapping up East Yorkshire IFA firm Marchant McKechnie in October 2018 and Thomas & Co Financial Services in Oxford earlier this month.

On Wednesday CEO Wilder said Kingswood was in “active discussions” to gain a foothold in the US market in the very near future.

He said: “We have a strong pipeline of domestic and international opportunities that we are currently evaluating. Our integrated wealth and investment management platform provides Kingswood with a strong competitive advantage and enables us to drive growth initiatives under a common brand. We have a strong and scalable operating platform with the capacity to support incremental revenue and earnings growth from future acquisitions, delivering sustainable profitability and value for our shareholders.

“The wealth management market remains very fragmented and we feel that there is a great opportunity to build a national brand for quality, wealth planning advice and investment management.”

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