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
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's 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 'speak when you are spoken to' 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
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's 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
“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.”