Glendevon King strategy aims to separate company risk from country risk


Richard Kendall and Nicola Marinelli of Glendevon King Asset Management believe big is not necessarily beautiful when it comes to fixed income fund management.

Richard Kendall and Nicola Marinelli of Glendevon King Asset Management believe big is not necessarily beautiful when it comes to fixed income fund management.

Founded in 2006, Glendevon King is a London-based boutique fixed income asset management firm that actively manages money for institutional investors, private banks, family offices and ultra high-net-worth individuals through managed accounts and registered funds.

Glendevon, which has assets under management of just over $150 million, runs seven strategies. These include investments in euro-denominated yield curve steepeners issued by financials, convertible bonds, a long/short arbitrage fund, and its Nordic exposure strategy. Its flagship income fund had between July 2007 (its launch date) and April 30, 2011 returned a net 66.4%. The fund also avoided a negative return in 2008, when asset prices across the fixed income world collapsed.

While still small in terms of AUM and number of staff - the funds are managed by three portfolio managers: Peter Baum, Yannick Naud and Nicola Marinelli - Glendevon believes there are advantages to this structure. With the three portfolio managers having worked for a combined 53 years in the fixed income markets, clients know their money is being managed by a trio who have experience of several credit cycles. Additionally, the lack of a cumbersome bureaucracy is another benefit.

Lines of communication

"What really distinguishes us is that when the portfolio managers are looking after clients' money, the client can actually talk to them," says Richard Kendall, chief executive at Glendevon. "How many other asset managers can tell you that? There will be a lot of bureaucracy that stops that. Every day I hear the portfolio managers talking to clients, telling them how they see events unfolding and where money should be deployed."

Kendall joined Glendevon in February 2010 as general counsel, having been a partner specialising in the debt markets at law firm Ashurst for 15 years. In November 2010, Glendevon formed a board of directors at the behest of its founder, Alistair King, who wanted to put in place a clear management structure. Kendall was promoted to chief executive in February.

"The board was formed to give the firm both a management structure and more focus and shape to our basic objective, which is to build assets under management, but do it in a structured and compliant way. That means making sure we have clear mandates with our clients: whenever we take on a new client, we sit down and agree a remit with them as to what their risk appetite is, and what they would like us to invest in," says Kendall.

In terms of its primary goal, Kendall wants to grow AUM by between $50 million and $100 million within the next year; something he believes can be achieved by existing clients investing more money with Glendevon, and new clients coming on board, which he says often results from word-of-mouth referrals.

Nicola Marinelli joined the firm in 2009, and specialises in corporate and government bonds. He says one of the advantages of Glendevon, compared with a private bank or wealth manager, is that it does not try and force a fixed asset allocation on clients, but tries to build tailor-made strategies targeting the best medium- to long-term risk/reward.

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