James Hambro & Partners, the London-based wealth management boutique spun off in 2010 from the JO Hambro Capital Management group, has unveiled a new investment management service for American clients.
The new, US Securities & Exchange Commission-regulated operation will reach out to “homeland” Americans rather than expats, although expatriate clients will also be welcome, the company said yesterday.
It marks a change from JH&P’s business up until now in that it is accepting American clients for the first time, which many UK wealth managers and advisers are reluctant to do because of the significant additional regulatory burden the US regulators impose on those who advise Americans.
JH&P said it is reaching out to American homelanders because it has identified “growing interest from American investors unsettled by the political climate, who want their money to be managed outside the US”.
The move also comes as many UK firms that have traditionally provided wealth management services to American investors “have begun retreating from the market”, JH&P added.
The new JH&P service for Americans will be headed up by William Francklin, pictured above, who comes to JH&P from Waverton – a Mayfair-based investment manager that has had links in the past with the Hambro family, but is not formally affiliated with JO Hambro or JH&P.
Francklin is described in a release announcing the new JH&P service as “a respected US specialist with a long history of managing assets for American investors”.
Explaining the decision to target American clients on their own soil, JH&P chief executive Andy Steel said: “Anxiety around the political situation in the US means more and more wealthy US individuals are challenging the traditional home bias, and looking overseas for wealth management, but there are very few firms in the UK that can credibly do this.
“Several of those that can are actually giving up their SEC registration because they are concerned about the regulatory burden, but we have a strong compliance culture, and a clear focus on what’s best for the client.
“We’ve done our homework and we clearly understand the SEC compliance process.”
JH&P said Francklin spent years overseeing the US equity research operations of Morgan Grenfell Asset Management, and subsequently ran US specialist funds out of New York for that company. When he returned to the UK he became responsible for the international equity assets of Morgan Grenfell’s UK pension fund business, and ultimately moved into global equities with other asset managers.
In his new role with JH&P, Francklin will travel regularly to the US to meet and talk to clients, many of whom are expected to be located on the West Coast, where much personal wealth is seen as being created by the so-called disruptive technology industry, in areas like San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
“Many wealthy American families have offshore trusts, and require a non-US money manager, or at least one based outside of the US, to run these,” Francklin said.
“Other family offices do it purely for investment reasons – they want to diversify outside of the US, and there’s enormous appeal in having an expert manager they can trust [and] based in Europe, like JH&P.”