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Kingswood Group aims for global expansion


Global ambitions are high at Kingswood Group, which, alongside its real estate affiliate, Moor Park Capital, manages GBP3.23 billion in capital for private clients, institutions and trusts. Leigh Philpot (pictured), Managing Director and Head of Client Proposition joined the firm in September of this year, with 20 years of experience in the private client industry, having held previous roles at Kleinwort Hambros, Rathbone Brothers and Killik & Co.

“The idea is to grow the Kingswood brand through the UK, the US and Asia,” he says. “We want to grow UK assets to GBP10 billion with the same in the US and GBP2.5 billion in Asia.”

Philpot says that a lot of firms in the wealth management industry are trying to achieve the same goals, good investment performance and looking after clients in the right way, but the differentiator is people.
“Our ambition is to be very local and personal at the front end, supported by a clear central proposition so that what we deliver is consistent. We want to ensure that the front office in regional offices run their clients and businesses as they see fit.”

He draws a comparison with huge wealth management firms such as Old Mutual and St. James’s Place who are well spread but also well integrated.
“The reach and depth of what they can do is what we would aim for, anything related to a client’s financial life journey from wealth planning, to next generation planning.”
At the moment, the firm has its own investment platform and plans to grow it to offer it to external clients drawn from the IFA and wealth community. For the US community, Kingswood plans to offer model portfolios. “The UK is very far down the track regarding platform solutions,” he says. Europe is seeing some growth, he adds, along with offshore platforms.
“The US is key for us as they start to use model portfolio solutions and platforms to deliver solutions to end clients. In the US we plan to offer model portfolios of stocks, ETFs and funds and also Kingswood strategies.”
Philpot observes that advisers based in Europe working for expats or nationals in their countries may not have undergone the changes the UK adviser market has seen following the RDR and MiFID II. He predicts that there will be a similar drive for efficiency across the wealth management sector in Europe.
In terms of trends, Philpot has seen increased interest in the ESG space and its investment management team has created some interesting bespoke and model solutions that apply an ethical implementation style to the firm’s suite of risk rated portfolios.
“The question is: ‘where are we in the world?’” he says. “We are 10 or 11 years into a long bull market. How do we mitigate risk? We are not alone in questioning where we will go as traditional defensive assets like fixed income are not available. The risk profile of fixed income has increased versus equities given the long bull run in the fixed income space, it’s hard to justify the risk/reward.”
Philpot finds that alternatives are more appealing with a mix of different things that will give a similar risk and return profile to fixed income. He cites gold, structured products or infrastructure for yields.
“I was an investment manager for the first half of my career, focusing on alternatives and mutual funds, and then took on relationship management roles. I am growing our discretionary investment office to achieve the Holy Grail of achieving returns without betting the ranch.”

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