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Nigel Mitchell

Chase de Vere Investments managing director Nigel Mitchell might not make

it into his own firm if he were applying for a job these days.

Mitchell does not have a degree but makes much of recruiting graduates

although he qualifies this by saying it is degree-calibre candidates he is

looking for.

The recruitment strategy seems to be meeting with success. Mitchell

recently accepted the Money Marketing IFA of the Year Award on behalf of

Chase de Vere Investments.

But it is not the award Mitchell would ideally like to win. “The award I

would really like the firm to win does not exist. I would really like Chase

de Vere Investments to win an award for Best Service to Clients if it could

be voted for by the clients. That would be the best award we could win.”

However, he is still pleased Chase de Vere Investments was named IFA of

the Year although he is at pains to point out that it is the team which won

the award and he simply accepted it on their behalf.

With Chase de Vere Investments now on the market for a buyer and looking

to recruit 80 new staff this year, Mitchell says exciting times are ahead.

The firm wants to bring on board 40 advisers and 40 administrative support

staff, taking its total staff to 300 – plans it hopes will continue under

its new buyer.

Several major IFA players, including Woolwich, Misys and Bradford &

Bingley, have been mentioned in connection with Chase de Vere as possible

buyers but Mitchell says this is merely speculation.

Modest and softly spoken, Mitchell says he has “no spectacular strengths”

and describes himself as a generalist.

But this modesty does not extend to his company. He says the firm is

pioneering in its field, having been the first IFA to provide online access

to Isas, the first company in the IFA industry to create Pep and Isa

product guides and the first IFA to boost its brand with a new corporate

identity and slogan.

Part of the success of Chase de Vere Investments lies in its policy of

only recruiting staff of graduate calibre. While the average age of IFAs is

54, Chase de Vere has concentrated on hiring young graduates and retaining

staff over long periods of time.

“Our attitude has always been that we take people fresh from university or

maybe they have gone into something else like law or accountancy. We also

have a 95 per cent staff retention year on year,” says Mitchell.

So how was Mitchell himself recruited? “I did not go to university and

there is a joke that, if I was applying to Chase de Vere Investments now, I

may not actually make it,” he jokes.

But he stresses that it is “graduate calibre” which is important to the

firm rather than simply having been to university.

“We do not always get it right but if we do make a mistake, for example,

with a delay in processing something for a client, we put our hands up and

sort it out quickly.”

With his love of good contemporary architecture, Mitchell is passionate

about struc-ture, design and engineering. He applies this to his work by

seeing how the firm is working and building upon it.

In another life, Mitchell might have been a horticulturalist, which was

the path he originally wanted to take. But by the age of 18, he was working

in financial services using skills he says he learned from his family.

Mitchell was born in Farnham, Surrey, but he always thinks of

Buckinghamshire as his home as it is where he spent most of his childhood.

With his family moving around because of his father&#39s job as a computer

systems processor, he was the new boy at school every couple of years.

Having to face change often might be why he is now an adaptable person.

“It was not a &#39speak when you are spoken to&#39 kind of family environment. I

had a very happy childhood. I met lots of people from different

backgrounds. I do not believe things cannot be resolved and I look at

issues from both sides.”

The third of four brothers, Mitchell says he understands that middle

siblings are often natural mediators as a result of their place in the

family.

His favourite places include Cornwall and Switzerland, which he regularly

vis its with his wife and two young children.

But despite the seeming stability of Mitchell&#39s home and professional

life, he says it is change which is a driving force in his life.

Mitchell says he would not have stayed with Chase de Vere Investments if

it was not a firm inspired by change and moving forward. “I have always

known that, if there is something I wanted to do, I could do it at Chase de

Vere.

“I would not be here today if it was a firm which stood still. It will

keep on changing and moving forward. If it did not, it would not be able to

keep advisers like it currently does, whoever its new purchaser is.”

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