THE Leeds office of Charles Stanley is looking to expand its workforce after securing the milestone of £100m of funds under management two years ahead of schedule.
Following signs that confidence is returning with ISA subscriptions up by 20 per cent in 2013, the stockbroker is now targeting a new goal of £125m of funds under management within the next 12 months.
Charles Stanley’s Leeds branch manager Jonathan Baker said he hopes to boost the nine-strong team to 15.
Today the stockbroker announced the appointment of Howard Garnett as intermediary sales manager for the North East and Yorkshire as it looks to cash in on new laws that force financial advisers to disclose their fees upfront under the new Retail Distribution Review (RDR) rules.
The rules are designed to make sure that financial advisers offer customers the best deal rather than one that they get paid the most commission on.
Mr Garnett will be responsible for promoting Charles Stanley’s products to IFAs (Independent Financial Advisers) and other professional contacts who might not know about the firm.
“He will sell Charles Stanley to people who have never heard of us before,” said Mr Baker.
“He will help get the Charles Stanley message out there.”
Mr Garnett has over 25 years of intermediary sales experience and has spent the last nine years being predominantly in the Yorkshire region.
Mr Baker said he will build on the success of the team who all have deep roots in the North East,
“Bringing Howard on board is a major coup to the office,” said Mr Baker.
“He brings a wealth of experience, contacts and knowledge to the Leeds office and is very well-known in the North East intermediary, financial adviser and SIPP worlds.
“The opportunity to work closer with local intermediaries and financial advisers is significant in and around Yorkshire and the North East and Howard is the perfect appointment at this stage of our growth story.”
Mr Baker said all decisions at the Leeds branch were made locally.
“We’re not driven by decisions made by someone in London. How does someone in London know what people in Yorkshire need?
“Clients can pick up the phone and speak to us and see they’re dialling a Leeds number. It’s resonating with them,” said Mr Baker.
He believes that confidence is starting to return to the market.
“People are spending money and they’re looking at the positives.
“People are going away for Easter holidays. You only have to look at the new Trinity Leeds development to see that it’s full. People are going out,” he said.
He admitted that the economy is still in the dumps, but said confidence will only return if people believe in it.
“There is still bad news out there.
“We get that but we can’t sit back and do nothing. We have to think outside the box. We’re starting to build up a good client base.”
The Leeds branch is particularly focusing on businesses that are exporting abroad.
“Jaguar Land Rover has been a fantastic success story for the UK. The bulk of their vehicles are going abroad,” said Mr Baker.
Closer to home, Charles Stanley is also keen to invest in Yorkshire companies.
Mr Baker said the Leeds office has invested in Hessle-based conveyor belt specialist Fenner and Thirsk-based structural steel maker Severfield-Rowen, which reported a loss last year following problems with the Cheesegrater contract at 122 Leadenhall Street in London.
“We still like Fenner. They have had a few pull-backs, had a few issues, but they seem to have got on top of that,” he said.
“We’re also happy to hold Severfield. We think they have got themselves sorted out.”
The Leeds office is part of the Charles Stanley network of 34 offices situated around the country with a head office in London.
Charles Stanley has been a member of the London Stock Exchange since 1852 and offers private client stockbroking, investment management and financial planning.
It is one of the UK’s biggest independently owned, full-service stockbroking and investment management groups.