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We're staying here, insists S&F.

Byline: Nevill Boyd Maunsell

Singer & Friedlander insisted yesterday it is determined to maintain its presence as an investment manager in Birmingham despite recent defections.

'We have 40 years of goodwill in the local market and we are not going to walk away,' said Richard Killingbeck, chief executive of Singer & Friedlander Investment Management.

Fern Hordern, a fund manager, is joining from Williams de Broe's Birmingham office next month.

She will be supported by a new administrator, Natalie Howe, who is coming from JP Morgan in Bournemouth, as well as by Helen Taylor, the office manager who has been holding the fort since Tom Nash quit as investment director last month to join Morgan Stanley Quilter.

'We also desire to recruit a senior individual to head up the office and have retained a London head-hunter, who has been closely involved in financial services in Birmingham,' Mr Killingbeck added.

At present he is spending one or two days in Birmingham each week, helped by investment managers from London and Manchester.

They have now written to all the Birmingham office's clients to tell them what is happening since the departure of S&F's five-strong investment management team for Laing & Cruickshank in August and giving them names of fund managers who are looking after their accounts in London.

'The big thing in all of this has been the clients and the management of their portfolios,' Mr Killingbeck added.

S&F's Birmingham office manages investments belonging to more than 200 families. A number of them have more than one account. At the end of June these were worth some pounds 240 million out of pounds 3 billion managed by S&F for private clients and charities across the country.

'We take the view that goodwill in the regions gives added flexibility when presenting to regional clients,' said Mr Killingbeck.

Fears that Birmingham clients might defect with the departing fund managers led to two of them being required for a while to work out their notice in what they described as a 'store room' without phones or computers. Mr Killingbeck accepts that some clients will go when the investment managers start work with Laing & Cruickshank at the end of their three months' notice. But so far none has gone.

Meantime, new clients are still signing up.

S&F seeks to provide what Mr Killingbeck calls a 'bespoke service' for individuals with investments worth between pounds 500,000 and pounds 5 million - more than the portfolios generally run by traditional private client stockbrokers, but less than the fortunes handled by the big international private banks.

Portfolios are constructed individually to meet the stated needs of each client - not according to any house model, although performance is monitored quarterly.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 9, 2003
Words:450
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