Rowan Dartington chair hopes to break £2.5bn in UK expansion


Rowan Dartington chairman Graham Coxell says the discretionary fund manager is on track to see its assets increase to £2.5bn next year and that non-organic growth will be on the agenda as its UK expansion continues.

The firm, which was acquired by St James’s Place in 2015, broke through £1.5bn assets under management earlier this year. Since then it has opened a handful of new offices and made a number of new appointments.

In October, Rowan Dartington Signature, the discretionary fund manager for intermediaries, appointed John Cowmeadow managing director.

“There are external macro factors we can’t control here, like markets, but I would imagine you will see us break through £2.5bn next year,” Coxell says.

Non-organic growth will be on the agenda if the firm can find businesses that are the right size and cultural fit, Coxell confirms.

“With the consolidation currently in our sector, I get to hear about four or five transactions of that nature a year, if not more. These are organisations that would tick the boxes, that we’d take a look at and say yes or no to.”

However, Coxell says if the business is on track to reach even more than £2.5bn it may consider relying solely on organic growth.

Coxell adds that the firm would expand its teams and locations next year.

“In you looked at us at the start of 2016 we were very much regionally based, now we have a national footprint.”

At the end of 2015, the firm’s furthest north office was in Birmingham, but it has since opened offices in Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

St James’s Place deal

Last year, St James’s Place acquired Rowan Dartington in a deal worth £34m.

Coxell says it is a great home culturally for the firm, but Rowan Dartington will remain an autonomous brand.

“Being the discretionary fund manager inside the best wealth manager in the UK is probably better than I could have imagined by a factor of 20 or 30,” Coxell says of the deal.

He defends the wealth manager’s fees, which have previously come under scrutiny from the press.

“If you look in the market place they’re not the cheapest, but they’re not the most expensive. In terms of proposition it’s the best out there and their clients consistently talk about value for money.”

Last year, The Sunday Times took St James Place to task over a lack of clarity over what they were charging clients for advice.