The PAM 50 Most Influential is an annual list of those at the forefront of shaping private client wealth management in the UK and Crown Dependencies.
Today we hear from Mark Perchtold, a founding director of Omba Advisory & Investments Ltd, a boutique investment management firm based in London, as we continue our series getting to know the 2021 '50 Most' constituents.
Omba won the Emerging Manager category in the 2020 PAM awards and are a unique manager who specialise in the use of ETFs to build portfolios. They advise and manage money for family offices and ultra high net worth clients and also provide access to some of their strategies via Irish UCITS funds.
An alumnus of Goldman Sachs and KPMG, Mark qualified as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa following a Bachelor of Accountancy degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. Mark is also a CFA Charterholder and has been investing in financial markets since 1998.
What team or personal achievement over the past year are you most proud of?
Our Omba team’s navigation of the ongoing Covid-19 chaos, particularly during the first three months of the crisis is what I’m most proud of.
We managed to stay connected, co-ordinated and positive throughout and made some big investment decisions which paid off for client portfolios.
Operationally it felt like we were more efficient and productive than normal times and despite the challenges we’ve all faced the team have remained positive and energised right up until now.
What do you find most rewarding about your role?
I’ve always enjoyed winning new business for the firm and dealing with clients and close engagement with them is tremendously rewarding. But lately I find the investment management decision making process most rewarding particularly when we make the right calls in what feels like a very challenging time in markets.
Bond yields are so low, expected equity returns are lower and monetary and fiscal policy responses are unprecedented. Figuring out how this all pans out is extremely challenging and so interesting to debate with our investment team and with clients.
What most excites or interests you about the wealth management industry right now?
I think the disruption taking place by ETFs as a tool to build portfolios for clients is extremely exciting.
The extent to which new entrants are entering the ETF space and the sheer number of new products being developed makes our skills as ETF specialists more relevant than ever.
Furthermore, the delivery of advice and product solutions to customers using technology cleverly is changing so quickly. Many firms’ business models are stale, and many are going to fail in my view, it is just a matter of time.
If wealth and asset managers are smart and nimble, they will be able to take advantage of this.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
I’ve never been someone who looked to only one role model. I believe all people are fallible and have weaknesses and as such strived to learn from the best attributes of all people with varying backgrounds, experiences and knowledge.
Practically thus far in my life I have learned a lot from immediate and extended family (from seeing both the good and bad in them) and in my career I’ve looked up to and learned from many of our clients, most of whom have been older and more experienced in life than me.
If you couldn’t work in wealth management/private banking, what other career appeals?
I have two uncles who are doctors and two who are lawyers so both professions have interested me from a young age.
My dad often said I’d make a good lawyer and having loved the LA Law series as a teenager I did consider a law career but my favourite subject at school was biology, so I very nearly studied veterinary science or medicine.
With the current pandemic and the importance of health care professionals I’ve quite recently reflected that maybe I should have studied medicine.
What was your student job?
During university I was a waiter at a restaurant called the Fish & Steak Ranch, taught high school maths and tutored accounting. This provided quite a lucrative income for me at the time. I remember saving way more than I needed for pocket money.
What’s a valued hobby or interest outside work and how did you get into it?
I don’t do it currently, as my wife prohibits it (for now!), but I used to breed snakes as child and I have a fascination of reptiles so when my kids grow up a bit more I’m planning to kick off my old hobby again with gifts of reptiles for birthdays.
Snake and reptile breeding with my brother was my first source of income during primary school. These days most of my spare time is spent with my family or trying to keep fit in some shape or form.
What’s a cheesy pop song that you love?
'Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor and 'Pump Up The Jam' by Technotronic.