Diary of a Private Banker: An investment manager is for life, not just Xmas

Freddie Pooter, 27/11/2020

As we approach that season of goodwill this yuletide, our thoughts should surely turn to deserving causes and the vulnerable people who need our help in these difficult times.

High on the list of our appreciation must be NHS staff, Major Tom and the boffins everywhere who are working flat out on Covid vaccines.

The top of my personal list, however, is an especially heart-rending case. The subject involved needs all our help, as it wanders like an orphan in a freezing storm in these dreadful days for our financial institutions.

Yes, I am talking about EFG Harris Allday, the Brummie broker and investments firm owned by EFG International and which I understand has been up for sale for several months. But succour has cruelly been withheld and a buyer apparently is not so far in sight. Please, please, delve into your wallets for this deserving cause.

A recap. Harris Allday (HA), a quality player overall, was bought by EFG back in 2006 and became part of the investment management operations of EFG Private Bank in the UK. Services include discretionary and advisory investment management for individuals, families, charities, pension funds and trusts.

Despite EFG’s ownership, HA remains somewhat of a tiddler – with assets under management of about £3 billion at year-end 2019.

EFG declines to talk about its plans for HA, but clearly the firm has not done a lot for the Swiss bank’s profile in UK investment management.

What has also appeared to have complicated a sale is the reservations of some senior HA staff regarding a disposal, at the least on the provisional terms mooted. Some even suggest that long-standing HA managers bought out by EFG are actively blocking the divestment plan.

There are fair few entrenched HA people in the firm. For example, its investment managers have an average of 19 yea...

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