James Barton, an investment director at Odey Wealth Management (UK), who left the firm earlier in 2018, has resurfaced at Featherstone Investment Partners (Featherstone), a new wealth management start-up backed by a larger group that originally started life as a single family office.
Mr Barton assumes the position of chief executive at Thatcham, Berkshire-based Featherstone which received its FCA authorisation on 2 July.
“We are part of a group founded in 1999 as a ‘family office’ to manage the investments of a single family,” Featherstone says on its website. “Today the group administers over £2 billion and is recognised as an industry leader.”
The website fails to elucidate further on the provenance of either Featherstone or its controlling family apart from making the assertion that it forms part of a group that is “an industry leader” in creating and managing multi-manager funds.
“Our group is an industry leader in creating multi-manager funds, seeking the best specialist practitioners globally,” it says. “These funds are more often niche, high quality and lower profile than many private investors have exposure to”.
But one of its non-executive directors is Tom Forman-Hardy, a scion of the Forman-Hardy family that founded T. Bailey Asset Management, a Nottingham-based fund management group in 1999 primarily to manage the family’s money.
Furthermore, Featherstone’s investment philosophy and process appears to share many similarities with that of T. Bailey, i.e. thematic-based investing implemented through multi-manager investment funds.
In addition to providing investment management services Featherstone also offers tax and advisory services.
As well as Mr Barton, who joined Odey in 2011 after stints at Close Brothers Asset Management and HSBC, and Mr Forman-Hardy, who is responsible for developing institutional and family business at T Bailey, other individuals involved with Featherstone, according to the FCA Register, are Nick Barton and Andrew Cox.
Nick Barton joins Featherstone from Mclaren Capital, a Godalming, Surrey-based wealth management firm. He has also worked at Coutts and Credit Suisse.
Mr Fox oversees Featherstone’s compliance functions.
Like many start-ups Featherstone claims to redress many of the failings its principals perceive as bedevilling its larger and longer established peers.
“We are frustrated by a bland and very homogenising industry which all too often provides poor advice, alienates people with jargon and seems to focus more on shareholders than clients,” it says on its website.
“Many wealth management advisers make spurious claims about how ‘client focused’ they are (despite looking after half the population) or how ‘investment focused’ they are (despite investing in mass-market and often mediocre funds).”
Featherstone intends to offer clients a “more friendly and inclusive firm whose interests are aligned with theirs” that will offer access to smaller top performing managers normally beyond the purview of established managers.
Furthermore it intends to remain small in size.