Brokers first Welsh office takes off

A new office in Cardiff opened by Charles Stanley, the London-headquartered stockbroking and investment management company, has reported that growth in the Welsh arm of the business has far exceeded expectations in its first few weeks of trading. Andrew Stansfield, Branch Manager in Cardiff said that a pattern had developed of private banks and some brokers moving away from advisory services and increasing the entry levels to new clients for bespoke portfolio management. This is where he saw a niche developing.

“We provide a personal, face-to-face service to clients and charities with portfolios over £100,000  which is relatively rare in today’s world of  finance,” he said. “As a team we had already worked for a number of years in Cardiff and built local, long standing and professional relationships in the area. With Charles Stanley we have the scope to offer an improved, bespoke service to all our clients and we can see enormous investment possibilities that are in our clients’ interests. We are delighted with the development of the business already, which has literally taken off since we opened our doors almost two months ago.”

Mr Stansfield’s team includes investment managers Gail de’Claire and Richard Disley, and head of charity development, Gary Power. The four previously worked for Barclays Wealth in Cardiff, and Gary Teper, director of Charles Stanley Group and head of branch development said that the team was the ‘right cultural and business fit’ for the company. “We had been looking for the right team in Wales for a number of years and we knew they were right for us.”

Charles Stanley offers comprehensive investment management services as well as advising on a wide range of financial instruments. The premises in 7/8 Park Place are the company’s 33rd regional office and the only one in Wales. Its central location in Cardiff is in keeping with the firm’s stated commitment to providing a traditional, face-to-face service to private clients. Kate Simpson, Senior Surveyor with Cooke & Arkwright, who acted on behalf of the landlord J R Smart in the deal to lease the offices said, “Charles Stanley is in good company at these premises, which are now fully let to an impressive mix of tenants including Giovanni’s, Bonham’s and Newcross Healthcare, who moved in earlier this year, as well as being J R Smart’s headquarters. The property is in a well-known and identifiable location making it easily accessible to Charles Stanley’s clients.”

The company’s latest trading report released in April showed that total funds under management and administration as of 31 March 2014 reached a new high of £20.1billion. This was up 13.5% from £17.7 billion at 31 March 2013. The report stated that ‘the newly announced Budget positions the Wealth Management sector as potential winners, and highlights the greater need for advice for customers whose increased choice of investments is now more than simply annuities’.

Commenting on the local market, Mr Stansfield said, “Businesses we talk to locally are fairly buoyant and people seem to be far more upbeat now than in the last few years. From our own point of view, we are receiving a lot of interest locally because the big banks are pulling up their minimum investment terms to levels which are not a problem in London, but don’t cater for smaller clients in South Wales. Charles Stanley is geared up to fit that local demographic and this is one reason why our early business success is ahead of expectations.”

Gareth Smart of J R Smart commented, “We are pleased that our premises are providing the first Welsh regional offices for a business that has a good reputation nationally for providing personal wealth fund management. We welcome the new tenants and are delighted that our Park Place building is now fully occupied.”