Edward Furness-Smith







Radley College and Durham University


January 2017


Cricket commentator


Graduate trainee accountant at PWC


The Isle of Lewis 


How do you describe your job to friends outside the industry?

Most of my conversations tend to avoid my day job, partly, I imagine because many of my contemporaries who are not engaged in financial services don’t always understand what we do. If asked, I am of course only too happy to explain. In a nutshell, we look after the financial affairs of individuals, but the real purpose of what we do is to give our clients some peace of mind that someone is looking after their wealth in line with their stated investment objectives. Knowing that someone is thinking about your wealth day in day out allows my clients to get on with their day job, be that enjoying their retirement, focusing on their careers or bringing up their children. 


What was the main attraction for joining the firm? 

There were a number of key factors for moving to JM Finn, but possibly the most important one was the business model by which the firm operates. What appealed to us was the degree of autonomy afforded to the investment managers. Many of the institutions we have come across recently were increasingly centralising their investment decision-making process in the name of efficiency. We felt this compromises the personal nature of an investment service; after all each client is different and therefore having the flexibility to tailor portfolios was critical to our thinking. 


As our newest investment manager, what strikes you most about JM Finn? 

Coming to JM Finn was a big move for us as one thing clients do not like, in my experience, is upheaval. We felt that JM Finn was an organisation that mirrors our high standards of service thanks to their big focus on putting clients first. I know that many firms, not just in financial services state this, but here it is evident across all aspects of the business. I think this stems from having senior investment managers on the management committee which means that each and every decision is considered from a client perspective. 

One area of our industry that causes most gripes with investors is the administrative side. Clients always view the amount of paperwork as excessive but of course this is industry wide. One of the real positives that I have found in the six months of being here, is that thanks  to having an in-house administration function, should there be a problem we can resolve it quickly and efficiently without having to liaise with a third party, or talk to a department in a far flung region. 

Finally, the collegiate and friendly approach from other like-minded investment managers is a hugely positive environment to work in and I have no doubt this will translate into providing a service for our clients that is second to none. 


Your colleague, John Eastgate joined us on the 7th September – have you missed him? 

Of course – we have been a close-knit team for a number of years now and have always enjoyed working together. So not having John has not helped our Herculean challenge of onboarding so many clients in such a short period of time. But I know he’s raring to go and thanks to the generosity of friendship from our new colleagues I have no doubt he’ll settle in in no time at all. 


In light of the current market conditions, how are you positioning client portfolios at present? 

We have been fortunate that the period during which our clients have moved over to JM Finn has been a period of upwards momentum for the market. This has meant that we have done little in terms of investment activity as our clients’ portfolios have, in my view, been appropriately positioned in the context of their individual investment objectives. 



Understanding Finance

Helping clients understand what we do is key to building relationships. To explain some of the industry jargon that creeps into our world, we’ve pulled together a section of our site to help.

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