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Financial services

With the International Monetary Fund estimating that losses in this sector will hit more than £2trn, there’s no doubt things will look very different for financial services firms next year.

The highest-ranked financial services firm on this year’s Hot 100 list – with £1bn worth of funds under management – is portfolio management company The Real Return Group (7th). Hot on its heels is Evans Randall (8th), a family-owned investment banking and private equity group.

Oxford graduate Tim Sanderson, and his various family trusts, owns 23 per cent of equity services company Sanderson Asset Management (32nd). The rest is owned by employees and Silchestor International Investors.

Was Charles Montanaro’s decision to set up fund management group Montanaro (53rd) in the middle of the last recession a moment of madness” Turnover of £6.6m and profits of £3.3m would suggest not.

Buy-to-let broker The Money Centre (80th) has grown 40 per cent during the past four years; and 1st Credit (10th) is proving there are fat profits to be made from debt-collecting, raking in £11.7m pre-tax profits on turnover of £76.8m. Octopus Investments (14th) isn’t buckling under recession strain, either, with turnover up from £1.7m to £19.7m in four years.

Winton Capital Management (18th) is also performing well. When it appeared in our Hot 100 last year, it was the most profitable company in the list. And it’s still making big bucks: £120.7m to be precise. BlueCrest Capital Management (31st) is even richer, with profits of £249m.

Some companies have found the going tough, though. In 2008, Slater Investments (17th) turned over £5.1m. Today, things look very different. Charles Romilly, co-founder of mortgage business The ECU Group (69th), also notes: “It’s a very hostile environment.” IFA business SimplyBiz (52nd) is also facing some tricky times but sales have increased from £2.7m to £10.7m over four years.

Meanwhile, director of financial firm Regency Factors (77th) Maurice Craft believes his firm is on track to exploit the “green shoots of recovery”.

Real estate investment management firm Europa Capital (83th) has invested more than €5bn in transactions across 17 European countries. London-based Redburn Partners (57th) also has a European slant. As former head of European equities at Flemings and MD of JP Morgan Chase, co-founder Jeremy Evans is no slouch when it comes to trading.

Finally, Rockspring Property (42nd) provides property investment management services to global institutions. Prudential Financial bought the £25m-turnover firm in 1993 but its employees, led by a trio of senior executives, bought it back in 2004.


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