Get to know the 50 Most Influential: Penny Lovell of Sanlam Private Wealth

News Team, 02/02/2021

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 Penny Lovell, chief executive of Sanlam Private Wealth – well known in the industry for her excellent communication skills and ability to offer sound and forthright advice on complex matters.

During 2020 Sanlam PW launched an enhanced charities business, as well as putting on an array of activities – ranging from exercise to mixology – for staff and clients.

Before joining Sanlam in 2017, Ms Lovell was head of private client, marketing, and distribution at Close Brothers Asset Management. Before this she held senior roles at Rothschild and Fleming Family and Partners.

Ms Lovell is a trustee for Prism: The Gift Fund and Pennies the Digital Money Box and sits on the board of PIMFA and the advisory board at the Park Theatre.

What team or personal achievement over the past year are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my team for finding new, brave and innovative ways to get to know our clients even more closely over the past year. Covid-19 has allowed us to make huge strides in our client stewardship by creating communities amongst them at a time when so many felt isolated and understandably afraid.

We did this by creating a unique and varied range of events that tapped into our clients’ passions and concerns in immediate response to the lockdowns. We ran virtual internships, art classes, social media training courses, mobility and exercise sessions and many more beyond.

Our clients have absolutely loved them and really embraced the opportunity to make new friends, enjoy their hobbies and get to know Sanlam more personally.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Understand that fulfilment is a journey, not a destination and forgive everyone, including yourself.

Everything in life is transient – your failures, your successes, your doubts, your confidence, your fears, your defeats – they will all come to pass, yet shape your future. My younger self might catastrophise outcomes without immediately seeing blessing in the experience.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Seeing younger colleagues develop and succeed. In an ever-changing industry, I’m constantly amazed at how talented young individuals constantly adapt and develop their skills to evolving client needs.

Within the various projects I lead internally, I am regularly exposed to new people and different learning styles and I find investing in the development of these individuals immensely fulfilling, ever more so when they themselves take positions of responsibility and pass on their own knowledge to clients and colleagues alike.

What challenges do you see your firm/clients facing in 2021?

Covid-19 has been transformational for many industries, not least our own and while we think we can be cautiously optimistic about 2021, we are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.

From a macro perspective, the economy presents its own challenges and I have many questions marks over its underlying strength and corporate resilience when the lifeblood of government support is withdrawn.

From a more Sanlam-centric perspective, we have invested heavily in 2020 making changes to help clients, within technology to complement a more digital and integrated proposition, a change of custodian, and the acquisition of some really interesting investment capabilities.

I think our biggest challenge will be making sure that we can continue to deliver award-winning investment outcomes, whilst bedding in some of these changes.

If you couldn’t work in wealth management/private banking, what other career appeals?

Poor financial wellbeing continues to have a damaging impact on the health and wellbeing of so many. I love my career in wealth management but I also very much enjoy my roles as a Trustee of Pennies the Digital Money Box and Prism the Gift Fund.

Perhaps this combined experience and awareness would lead me to think about something in financial education – to better support those who are seriously in need of this extra help and advice.

What luxury item would you want with you on a desert island?

That would have to be my piano – definitely my piano.

What’s a valued hobby or interest outside work and how did you get into it?

Cycling. My eldest brother on the Isle of Skye – not the easiest place to start – and so many special friends, have all been instrumental in encouraging me to cycle.

I’ve set myself some mountain climbing challenges to achieve this year – though right now I’m still being overtaken by everybody on some of South London’s smaller hills – so a long way to go yet. The good news is that I’ve pretty much mastered cycling to the office in half the time it takes on the Northern Line, so travelling to work has become far more enjoyable.

What’s a cheesy pop song that you love?

That depends who I’m being cheesy with! What about Love My Life, by Robbie Williams – it’s all about positivity and making the most of life. Yes – it has to be Love My Life.

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