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Ex-Barclays pair set up boutique investment firm Castlebay

TWO former Barclays Wealth managers have established their own boutique investment firm in Scotland as they wanted more flexibility in managing client money.

David MacNeil and David Ridland have been working on building up the client base and systems for Castlebay Investment Partners in recent months.

The pair said they were keen to strike out on their own as entrepreneurs as well as getting back to offering a more personal wealth management and investment service.

Mr MacNeil, previously at Gerrard and HSBC Investments, said: "We felt we were at the point in our lives where we wanted to do something ourselves.

"We wanted to be able to say this is what we do, here is what we have done previously and this is the outcome and clients will say whether they like that or not.

"The relationship bit is the most important. How can you manage someone's money if you don't know who you are?"

Mr Ridland, formerly a fund manager at Ignis Asset Management, said Castlebay is focusing on investing over the long term and it recommends to clients they have a minimum holding period of three to five years.

He said the Castlebay strategy is about using in-depth analysis of valuations and trading history to then invest in companies when the share price is trading below its intrinsic value and also businesses with strong cash flows.

He said: "We wanted to run money for clients as if it were our own with all those interests aligned. We are not going to buy something for you we wouldn't buy for ourselves. Clearly we can't ever front run but if I am buying, for instance, Rio Tinto for a client and working to the same risk mandates shouldn't I have Rio Tinto as well?"

Mr MacNeil said Castlebay has set a limit of 125 relationships, where a relationship could involve managing investments for several family members.

He said: "We are at a size now where if we took on more than that it might dilute the service.

"We want younger people making their way in the world who we feel we can add value to them through long-term people.

"We are also looking for people who have accumulated money through their life as well. If you go through our book there is a chunk of money which is from people who are retired, people in mid-life and there is a smaller bit of people making their way in the world. We don't have a minimum as we want people to buy into what we are trying to achieve and grow with them as well."

Mr Ridland said: "We are not having to run to stand still. We have the time to take a longer view and the partnership is well-financed in order to do that."

Castlebay has a relationship with London based SC Davies and Company where the English firm regulates and provides compliance services in exchange for a management fee.

Mr MacNeil said Castlebay wants to keep its boutique nature but will create a small number of jobs in the coming months.

He said: "We want to keep a nice small team and will potentially fill the five desks in our office. We have got propositions out for £2m to £3m a time and are talking to good high net worth individuals who see our structure and like it."

Castlebay raised money from two unnamed investors to provide working capital in its initial months.

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