1 : What was your first job?
At 18 years old, I found myself with Hambro Life as a sales consultant. I worked with accountants, lawyers and other professionals offering investment advice to their clients. Along with Daniel Freedman – with whom I would go on to found London & Capital – I proved to be one of the most successful consultants in the Company.
2: What attracted you to financial services?
I was always interested in helping the underdog and at Hambro Life we enjoyed the challenge of helping people with more modest sums to invest to make those assets sweat and we did a good job.
3: How would you describe your current role?
I could not be more actively involved in the company. I have always been an early starter and reach the office at around 4.30am every morning to catch up with emails, to speak with our Hong Kong office and our South African clients – and at this time of the year there is the added benefit of the early morning bird calls. That beats John Humphrys any day. My principal working focus is at present our growing Adviser Solutions team. The team was established some 18 months ago, recognising the opportunity to leverage our proven investment strategy by offering out-sourced investment solutions to the IFA market. I leave at around 6.30pm.
4: You founded London & Capital 25 years ago. What prompted you to set up the business?
We set up in 1986, a period of great change in the industry. The Financial Services Act of that year tightened considerably the rules and regulations guiding our activities and that was a perfect opportunity for us to launch the firm. We had for some time been looking to set up an indep-endent regulated firm capable of offering clients the most competitive, unbiased and transparent products and client services available.
5: What is the biggest change you have seen in the wealth management industry?
I would observe two significant changes – one in 1986 when we established London & Capital, the other the financial crisis that hit in 2008, which was the catalyst for the crisis the economy is now facing. The crisis paved the way for the RDR, which presents considerable challenges for smaller financial advisers.
6: What is the biggest challenge for London & Capital right now?
Our Adviser Solutions offering to IFAs – a range of 10 risk-graded managed portfolios – is aimed at the masses. At 25bps, we are super-compe-titive and a minimum investment set at just £1,000 means the man on the street can access investment advice which was previously out of reach. Technology has made all of this possible and the challenge is convincing those IFAs coming to terms with these great changes of the many benefits which come with the decision to employ outsourced investment solutions.
7: What would be the one piece of advice you would give to someone considering a career in Financial Services?
Qualify before you get into the industry. My colleagues will tell you that I share in the philosophy of Tesco founder Jack Cohen, who said: “You can’t do business sitting on you’re a**e. That has always seemed a guiding principle to me.
Richard Leigh is managing director and head of Adviser Solutions at London & Capital