Ex-Quilters' managing director will spearhead firm's expansion of multi-manager offerings
Christows will seek to expand its multi-manager offerings after hiring David Franklin, Quilters' managing director of retail funds division, to develop its unitised business.
Franklin, who developed Quilters' multi-manager platform, has also taken over as manager of Nick Greenwood's stable of three offshore funds of investment trusts.
Greenwood is still with the group, which said his role is being reviewed.
The group, which is a private client stockbroker with existing branches in Bournemouth, Exeter and London, is to launch an onshore UK Oeic in the coming weeks. This will be used as a vehicle to house the tiny offshore Christows UK Equity Growth fund, currently a Dublin Oeic sub fund investing in investment trusts, which Christows is to bring onshore.
This fund will then be altered to form the basis of a more attractive onshore multi-manager product aimed at the intermediary channel, said Alex Snow, chairman of Evolution Group, which owns Christows.
This will involve a change in the fund's mandate but details of the exact shape of the product and the fate of the other two offshore funds, the Accelerated Growth and Global portfolio, are yet to be finalised, Snow said.
Franklin also confirmed that Christows was to seek to grow its name in the multi-manager arena. He said: 'It is early days yet as I have only been here for a few days, but Christows is a firm with a strong provincial branch network and is clearly well-placed to talk about multi-manager services to medium-sized independent financial advisers throughout the UK. This is a huge growth area.'
'At Quilters, the launch of such a range of multi-manager product met with great enthusiasm in the intermediary world.' Snow believes Christows, which has around 4,000 private clients and £440m in assets under management, has a powerful distribution base, that it is seeking to expand. It has plans to grow its branch network across the South East and South West, and with its parent owning 22% of Inter Alliance, Snow anticipates a strategic relationship with the network to distribute its multi-manager proposition.
Snow said Franklin has a strong track record in bringing in assets under management at Quilters, BWD Rensburg and Johnson Fry. At Johnson Fry, now LeggMason, Franklin was responsible for launching a number of investment trusts bringing in in excess of £100m. At BWD he helped raise assets under management from around £16m to £200m, he said.
This is important, according to Snow, as the unitised business currently only has around £35m in assets under management, and is a size which the parent company Evolution is unhappy with.
Snow said: 'David has joined with the remit to build up assets under management. He has a huge amount of experience in building up this type of fund product. This is about Christows not only growing on the portfolio side but also coming up with a new strategy and direction for its unitised business.'
The Christows UK Equity Growth fund, which has a little over £2m of assets under management, is ranked 6 out of 43 funds in the FSA-recognised offshore funds UK Equity sector in the three years to 18 March, with a bid-to-bid return of 13.4%, compared to a sector average of -4.6%. In the 12 months to the same date, it slipped to 54 out of 54 funds with a return of -32.3%, compared to a sector average of -4.6%.
This story was first reported in Investment Midweek, Investment Week's free electronic newspaper. To subscribe visit www.ifaonline.com.
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