Trio of wealth management veterans launch London private office

Three veterans of the multi-family office and wealth management industry have joined forces to launch a new “private office”, known as Owl, in Smith Square, London, to cater for wealthy individuals and families.

Adam Wethered, William Drake and Andrew Wimble said they were launching the Owl Private Office in response to a need they saw in the market for “a conflict-free advisory service” that could help clients with the “formulation of objectives, strategies and structures that need to be defined and effected” in advance of the appointment of specialist professional advisers and asset managers.

The Owl name is said to have been chosen because birds of that variety are seen as symbolising wisdom, and being watchful, in line, a spokesman said, with Owl Private Office’s “keen eye for detail as well as its ability to maintain an informed overview/watching brief”.

“Owl helps wealthy families, trustees and individuals think through their long-term objectives, sitting on the same side of the table [as they do], guiding and representing their interests with external professional advisers,” the three say in a statement announcing their new business.

This can mean “helping clients assemble and coordinate a team of advisers, set up a dedicated single family office, or simply helping clients source, appoint and hold to account the right professional advisers and investment managers to suit their needs”, they add in their statement.

Owl, they say, offers an overall “review of existing arrangements” service, which they say assesses the quality of the client’s current arrangements for the price they’re paying, and recommends what its own advisers believe would be the best way forward.

They say they plan to cater for individuals, families and trustees that have cross-border issues, such as assets in one or more countries that are different from the one in which they are living, whose needs for expert structuring tend to be greater than those whose wealth is held in just one country.

“Whereas previously families and trustees may have relied upon all-embracing and generalised advice from law firms and their wealth managers, there has been a continuous move towards specialisation, caused by the need for deep expertise in most areas of law, tax and wealth management, encouraged by the increasing regulation of professional advice,” says Owl co-founder Adam Wethered.

“[And yet,] many families do not have the time to examine and pursue their complex requirements.

“In our experience, there is now a gaping absence in the very high end wealth advisory journey.

“We will step into this role by providing overarching advice that brings together the appropriate specialists, and helps the family and advisory team think through, from a personal and practical perspective, the critical and fundamental issues which span several professional disciplines.”

Even American clients may be accommodated in an advisory capacity, with Owl’s representatives ensuring that they are matched up “with the right specialists as regards advice, implementation, product recommendations and reporting”, an Owl spokesperson said.

Prior to joining in the launch of Owl, Wethered, pictured above, was involved, with co-Owl-founder William Drake, in the Lord North Street private investment office, which they co-founded in 2000 and sold to Sandaire in 2014.

His previous roles included having been head of JP Morgan’s London offices and chief executive of JP Morgan Securities. He’s also chairman of the Garrick Club’s investment committee.

Before co-founding Lord North Street in 2000 with Wethered, Drake – who, like Wethered, is a Cambridge graduate – practised as a barrister and US attorney until 1979, when he left the legal profession to work at Kleinwort Benson’s investment and corporate finance operations, which he then followed with17 years at Granville.

The third member of the Owl team is Andrew Wimble, a chartered fellow of the Securities Institute and chartered wealth manager. Previous roles included stints with Barclays Wealth, where he was a director of its East African division; Kleinwort Benson; and ANZ Grindlays Bank. He began his financial career as a Lloyd’s insurance broker and Merrill Lynch stockbroker.

Owl’s offices are located at One Smith Square, in London’s Westminster district, just south of the Houses of Parliament.

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