3rd April 2019
Dear Clients and Friends,
It has been a little while since we gave you a general update on Langham Hall’s business, so we’ve summarised a few highlights for you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more.
Although we added 100 people to number 400 professionals at the end of 2018, last year felt like a period of consolidation for the group as we are now well established in all the main fund jurisdictions (London, Luxembourg, Jersey, Guernsey, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore) and have all the depositary and AIFM licences we need in London and Luxembourg. The appointed representative licence in London has been particularly interesting for a number of new managers, given the myriad of other concerns they have with starting their businesses. We have a small presence on the ground in Holland and continue to look at Ireland. Our focus however remains on organically growing existing businesses.
Although the business continues to move forward, we are always vigilant as, despite the reasonably buoyant markets, there is a general note of caution in all jurisdictions. The UK market has been particularly quiet for a while now due to BREXIT uncertainty, yet there is a feeling generally that international investors are under-allocated with respect to the UK – we may see this develop in a positive direction later in the year, partly depending on the settling of the UK's future relationship with the EU. Our clients report significant levels of dry powder waiting for the right investments.
At Langham Hall, 2018 was a strong year across the board but particular highlights include:
Consistency, reliability, and a client facing, partner-led model have been key to our success since we started in 2006 but as we continue to expand we are keen to retain the culture of a small business, including commerciality, speed and flexibility. We have been continually focused on training and staff retention and have achieved incredible results in traditionally difficult jurisdictions such as Luxembourg and the Channel Islands. However, continued expansion requires a more systematic approach and, with that in mind, we created a new role of Chief of Staff to design and implement our professional services strategy. This role has been taken by Peter Cameron who joined us in the summer having previously served as a Brigadier in the Royal Marines. Peter is working closely with me and the heads of jurisdictions to ensure that we give our people the best opportunities to enhance their professional careers at Langham Hall. As part of this initiative, we took on 30-40 ambitious graduates across the group last year.
In addition to the focus on staff, we recognise the importance of technology. From the outset, we have used a single system (Sun Systems) for all jurisdictions and asset classes based on the fact that it is an accounting database with the capacity to extract financial and non-financial information into various reports. This approach has the flexibility that doesn’t exist with off the shelf systems requiring risky “workarounds.” After years of searching, we have started testing a new dataflow system which has the capacity to enhance our existing data management, not just in our core services, but also with the ability to manipulate client data. This objective is seen as a “holy grail” in the fund management sector and our initiative is a step towards it, sitting well with the agile and flexible approach which has marked our business from its outset.
We are optimistic about the coming year and remain committed to supporting our clients’ continuing success.