I would like to begin by saying how extremely honoured I am to be taking up the role of CEO at JM Finn. Whilst there does not seem much to do on the face of it, the wealth management industry is incredibly competitive and constantly changing, so we need to ensure the business continues to develop and evolve.
What I do know, having been an investment manager at the company since 2006, is that our focus on delivering a highly personalised client service, where investment managers are accountable for all aspects of the client relationship, means we are best placed to give our clients the service that they need. As a firm, we have long committed to this view and unlike much of the industry today, we stand by this approach.
Looking ahead, one of our big focuses for the future, is Wealth Planning – helping our existing clients with their wealth transfer challenges and pension planning. As we enter a period of likely higher tax levels, subdued growth and low interest rates, planning and wealth structuring will be key to long term financial security. Rather than operating as a separate division, this is something that we offer to our clients as complementary to their investment management. Built in the JMF mould of being ‘needs driven’ rather than ‘product driven’, this service is becoming a fundamental part of our offering. The next step for us will be looking to introduce more access to wealth planning in the branch offices.
Another aspect of investment that is becoming increasingly important is the need for more responsible asset management. There has been a tremendous amount of news coverage on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, particularly in light of the pandemic. At present, the debate is weighed down by a plethora of often diverging definitions, expectations and considerations but I believe we need to make more ground here, not just for future investors but for our investors of today. From an investment point of view, the most successful companies of the future will be able to demonstrate their purpose, what they contribute to society as well as their impact on the environment so we need to deepen our engagement with these companies in order to unearth the best investment opportunities.
New business is often viewed as a dirty phrase, but the fact remains, firms like ours have to grow to continue to be able to invest back into the business and remain in a strong position to weather uncertain economic and regulatory times ahead.
We are not looking to double in size overnight but rather to continue to increase funds organically and by bringing in the right managers who fit our culture. The business is in strong financial health and this allows us to grow without compromising the level of service we offer clients today. We will continue to invest in our partnerships, such as the Royal Academy and Surrey County Cricket Club, both to continue building our presence but also to enable us to meet our clients and their friends in less formal surroundings – it can be times such as these where understanding and trust develop, both important aspects of a successful relationship.
One of our big focuses is helping our existing clients with their wealth transfer challenges and pension planning.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Steven Sussman and James Edgedale who as CEO and Chairman respectively have skilfully guided the firm through a difficult period that has seen, amongst other things, the financial crisis of 2008, a change of ownership in 2011, and more recently the pandemic, all the while evolving the business from our more traditional stockbroking roots to the more comprehensive wealth management business that it is today.
I am looking forward to the challenge of continuing their good work and to meeting more clients of JM Finn in the New Year. In the meantime, we encourage all our clients to stay in touch with their investment managers and we hope to be able to meet again in person in the not too distant future.
Hugo joined JM Finn in 2006 from HSBC where he ran the High Net Worth Desk in the Investment Management Division.
He has 28 years of investment experience and has worked in Private Client Management all his working life, starting his career at James Capel in 1992. Hugo has always maintained a flexible approach to managing clients’ assets and believes the key to successful wealth management relationships is trust and he cites listening to a client’s needs as another key driver of successful wealth management relationships.
As well as looking after clients directly, Hugo currently has oversight for nineteen investment managers in his role as one of three “Area Heads” across the firm.
He is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment having achieved the Securities Institute Diploma with papers on institutional investment advice, private client investment advice and regulation & compliance and he holds a 2:1 degree in Economics and Politics from Durham University.
Hugo was recommended as a High Net Worth Manager in The Spear’s 500 2019 & 2020 editions and named “outstanding in field” in the former and a “distinguished individual” in the latter.
Married to Charlotte, they have twin boys and a daughter and live in North Hampshire. He is an avid fisherman, enjoys walking and has recently taken up open water swimming. He also plays cricket and still turns out for JM Finn’s Stockbroker Cup eleven as well as his local village side.
Illustration by Sir Radar Drench