Ed Rosengarten, head of asset management at Eden Financial, has moved from a big firm to a small one and is confident that a multi-strategy investment boutique is what the market needs.
After 18 years at M&G, working his way from macroeconomic and quantitative analyst to head of equities, Rosengarten has now moved to Eden Financial, which has 54 staff and where he has set up the asset management part of the firm from scratch.
Rosengarten joined Eden Financial in February to give the private client business an IFA focus.
High-profile recruits since his arrival such as ex-Gartmore head of UK equities Leigh Himsworth and former Henderson head of fund of funds Mark Harris have put Eden in the spotlight.
Former Gartmore fund manager Dan Roberts quit Eden Financial after two months in September to join Fidelity. The firm was to launch a global equity fund for him but the fund is now currently on hold due to his departure.
Rosengarten has already launched a UK equity fund to add to the firm’s multi-asset fund while a fixed-income fund and other multi-asset funds are in the pipeline.
Rosengarten was always focused on a career in financial services. “The City has always interested me as it is a fascinating industry. In my student days, I did a internship at stockbrocker Hoare Govett and I was convinced the investment management part of financial services was where I wanted to be. After graduating with a masters degree in 1990, I stepped into a small fund manager firm called Touche Remnant.”
It was the ownership structure of the firm that drove Rosengarten to join Eden, where patience in development is possible. “There is no third-party absentee shareholder driving the agenda. The owners are in the business. There is patience as a result of that. You are not accountable to quarterly results to some sort of absent board.”
Culture and business set-up were other elements that attracted Rosengarten. “Eden Financial understands delivering to clients, where performance and service is the essence of the firm’s success. It is the right size. It is established and substantial.”
Another attractive part of the culture is the lack of formal meetings. “I spend enormous amounts of time reflecting on what we are doing, investment issues and thinking about how we are building the business.
“My ambition was always to create, not quite a mini M&G, but you can see similarities in the set-up. The critical elements of the value chain are present – the platform, admin and finance, the investment areas and a distribution team of 10 to 12 people. That is all you need to get going.”
“I believe big organisations struggle to create this optimal environment. There is a difference between noting what needs to be done and actually doing it.”
He says there are lots of reasons why this is difficult within a bigger organisation but pushing ideas to fruition is an example.
Rosengarten is not interested in pursuing complex strategies at Eden. He says he likes the idea of creating retail business that private clients can access. “I think we are going to be straightforward and retail for a considerable amount of time. I do not see us going down the institutional route or hedge fund route any time soon.”
Rosengarten is focusing on building a platform presence to reach the retail market. The funds are on Transact and Hargreaves Lansdown but Rosengarten is working towards getting them on other platforms.
He believes the evolution of the financial services industry towards outsourcing puts Eden in good stead.
“The industry is unbundling. The intermediary focus is on clients and looking to engage with a third party such as Eden in managing investment content. We are in a good position through both the discretionary private client side of the business and the multi-asset side of the asset management business.
“It is an evolution, not a revolution. Eden’s client base is quite different from other private client bases. Most of the private client business is a bit stuffy. They are not retirees. Eden clients are dynamic, entrepreneurial and largely businesspeople, so, in that context, I wanted to operate in the key asset sectors but I also wanted to create a product that stands out.”
Rosengarten says this meant finding the right fund managers who could develop portfolios using a distinctive approach.
“Hiring people was the formative period for Eden. One of the beauties of the asset management industry is that the barriers to entry are relatively light. I think if you can draw together talented people and create funds that people want to buy, then you have a great business.”
He says the traditional boutique model is to have a single strategy and institutional hedge business but that Eden will stand out by having fund offerings across credit, equity and multi-asset.
“I can see a scenario where there is more than one product in each category but product proliferation is not a particular element of my strategy.”
Now that he has brought fund managers on board, Rosengarten is focused on delivering on the promises of return made to investors. “The challenge is to get some performance numbers on the funds we run and keep the momentum going.”
Born: 1968 in London
Lives: London with his wife and six children
Education: MSc in economics from University of London
Career: 2001-10: chief executive equities and board director, M&G; 1998-2001: chief operating officer, M&G; 1996-98: Institutional client director for UK equity and balanced funds, M&G; 1992-96: macroeconomic and quantitative analyst, then institutional marketing head and institutional business manager, M&G; 1990-92: graduate trainee, macro-economic and quantitative analyst and institutional business executive Touche Remnant
Likes: Visionaries, driven people, entrepreneurs
Dislikes: Ego, impatience, technocrats
Drives: GMC Denali XL – to fit eight people
Book: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Film: The Great Gatsby
Album: Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder
Career ambition: To build an exemplary asset management business
Life ambition: Healthy, successful, happy children
If I wasn’t doing this I would be… An entrepreneur