The CityWire New Model Retreat, Hertfordshire

The Seabrook Clark Investment Desk team had the honour of being invited to the CityWire New Model Adviser Retreat event which was held in London earlier this month. Representatives from 20 fund groups held presentations on specific funds they are managing, as well as providing their insight into current market conditions, the challenges facing investors and the latest trends in investing. Each delegate attended 10 fund manager masterclasses, so to make the most of it, Bryony and Vessie opted to attend different sessions.

The first day began with a presentation by Andres Sorman-Nilsson, a futurist and innovation strategist who helps executives and business leaders decode trends, answer disruptive questions and strategise for foreseeable and unpredictable futures. He spoke about how the digital world is causing disruption in the way businesses operate, and how businesses can use this to their advantage instead of being afraid of the change.

After the presentation the delegates were invited to attend the first round of masterclasses. Vessie attended Evenlode, Aberdeen Standard Investments and Columbia Threadneedle’s presentations and Bryony met with Royal London AM, Kames Capital and Rathbones.

The meetings were followed by lunch where each table was hosted by a representative from a different fund group which provided an opportunity for the delegates to speak to them directly and raise any questions they may have.

Vessie was assigned to Invesco’s table where she took up the opportunity to speak to Georgina Taylor, a multi asset fund manager, about the issues around screening ethical investments and the future of ethically focused models compared to ESG (environment, social, governance) models. As a young professional, she was also interested in Georgina’s career path and how she got to where she is now, which she found very informative and inspirational. Bryony spoke with Carmignac about the gender pay gap in financial services and how it is up to all of us to demonstrate that it is possible to work in a different way to how we currently are.

Lunch was followed by a presentation by Sir David Spiegelhalter OBE FRS, a British statistician and Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. His fascinating background made for a very informative and engaging presentation which focused on the importance of communicating risk and uncertainty without losing trust in a world of ‘fake news’ where people often lose confidence in the information they’re being provided with.

Next were four more fund group master classes. Bryony met with Schroders, M&G, Sarasin and Legg Mason, and Vessie attended presentations by Jupiter, AXA IM, Royal London AM and Schroders.

After a well-deserved break delegates were invited to attend dinner, where again each table was hosted by a representative from a different fund group. Vessie had the opportunity to speak to Henry Boucher, Deputy Chief Investment Officer and Fund Manager, and Christopher Cade, Sales Director at Sarasin about their ethical funds, their screening process and the future of ethical investing, as well as specific companies they are invested in. She also spoke in depth to a couple of London based IFAs about their businesses and operational model, as well as their career paths and experience.

Dinner was followed by a drinks reception where delegates had the opportunity to network with the fund group representatives and ask any questions following the masterclasses of the day. Vessie and Bryony also spent some time networking with other IFAs, discussing the masterclasses they had attended, as well as recent market developments, actions they are taking to shelter their models from the unpredictability of the market, their operational models and their overall experience.

The next day started with a presentation by Marc Priestley, a former F1 racing pit stop mechanic for McLaren, on the importance of team work and the strive for improvement. He spoke about the pressures of working in a fast paced, high responsibility environment where change is imminent. He focused on how teams overcome these challenges to become some of the highest performing on the planet by making marginal improvements to multiple elements of their work.

Marc Priestley’s presentation was followed by the last series of fund group masterclasses. Vessie met with Janus Henderson, Carmignac and GAM, and Bryony met with Orbis IM, Smith & Williamson and Franklin Templeton.

After all the presentations had concluded, delegates were invited to have lunch before heading off. Vessie and Bryony used this opportunity to network with the CityWire team and understand what each of them does, as well as how these events are organised and managed.

This saw the end of the event. All in all, Bryony and Vessie found the two days very informative and a great experience. Following all the masterclasses, they feel that they better understand how advice markets across the world are adapting to disruptive forces, what fund managers’ strategies are for dealing with the latest economic trends, and both took away some practical ideas about how they can help make the business work more effectively for clients.

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