Rathbones set for further UK and offshore expansion

Rathbone Unit Trust Management’s four-strong fund launch into the offshore marketplace next month is gathering pace and will not be derailed by any potential Brexit, according to Rathbone Unit Trust Management chief executive Mike Webb.

Speaking to International Investment as part of our new Big Interview video features series, Webb revealed plans to further expand the company with a move back to the City to a new larger head office set for early next year and plans for a major sales drive into the expat adviser marketplace throughout 2016.

Even the possible threat of a Brexit will not derail plans described by Webb as he reveals it is part of a strategy a full three years in the making.

“We’ve been looking at this (offshore funds launch) for coming up three years and we knew that there was a referendum coming up at some point,” he said. “The commercial decision was more around how do we best service the demands that we see of Europe and we are confident that there is significant demand particularly Spain and Portugal.

“A UK base simply didn’t do it for one reason or another.”

Brexit discussed at length

Webb added that the Brexit referendum has been discussed at length by his team and regardless of the result, the company is well positioned to take advantage of what Rathbones is convinced of European and global investors appetite for British investment expertise.

“Having a Luxembourg base gives us that optionality in any event” added Webb. “Whether we need to put more people actually physically in Luxembourg or not still remains to be seen.

“This is not a decision that we are going to back away from if we come out of Europe it is one that gave us that long term strategic thinking. And lets remember that Luxembourg is also not just a base for Europe it is actually a base for the rest of the world.”

May launch

In May Rathbones launches its first four offshore funds, offering European and globally based investors access to its UK funds for the first time.  Domiciled in Luxembourg, the proposed funds will invest via a master-feeder structure into the Rathbone Ethical Bond fund the Rathbone Multi-Asset Total Return, Multi-Asset Strategic Growth, and Multi-Asset Enhanced Growth Portfolios,

Webb believes that the distinctively British identity associated with Rathbones something that will appeal to expats as the company looks at the new range of funds.

Expat appeal

“Particularly in the expat market anything that is British and you are a British expat, then it is going to appeal,” he said.

“Europe is a natural extension for us as it where the majority of expats sit. But let us remember that Luxembourg is not just a base for Europe it is actually a base for the rest of the world.

On his company’s plans to move from its Mayfair headquarters on Curzon Street, he pointed that acquisitions (Jupiter’s private client business & Tilney Investment Management’s London business, bought for a combined £57m in April last year) have been “creating pressure on space”. “But now we’ve found an ideal property in the City that we can all move and keep the culture together and so that we are not split up.

Head office move early 2017

“That’s particularly important as far as the investment team is concerned. We will be moving early 2017.

“But for this year the two main things are this fund launch in May and the second thing is that we need to broaden and deepen distribution. I am in charge of a five-year distribution plan that is talking about how we better service UK and international advisers better and better over time.”

To view our exclusive video ‘Big Interview’ with Mike Webb visit International Investment’s video section tomorrow.

A full version of this interview with Mike Webb will also appear in the May issue of International Investment. Click here to subscribe to our daily news bulletins and receive a copy of the magazine.

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