Stenham Asset Management’s recent acquisition of Guernsey-based hedge fund managers Montier Partners reflects a wider trend involving the consolidation of niche firms within larger organisations, according to Andrew Boyce, corporate partner at Channel Islands law firm Carey Olsen.
“Although the trend is not limited to Guernsey, it is becoming increasingly important as managers move there and look to expand their offering,” he says. “This is happening where the economic crisis has left smaller companies a target for larger ones seeking to expand in their jurisdiction.”
In recent years Guernsey has seen the arrival of major investment firms including hedge fund manager BlueCrest and leading private equity figures such as Guy Hands and John Moulton.
“We’re seeing it in areas such as property management as well as hedge funds, and it’s something that’s inevitable in light of the current economic situation,” Boyce says. “Stenham is a multi-faceted manager, and they are very Guernsey-centred in terms of their base so it’s natural to expand here.”
Stenham has long had strong links to the Channel Islands, with operations in Guernsey and Alderney and a significant client base in the region, according to head of offshore sales Damian Cocking (pictured).
“As an employer we have been very happy with the quality of staff and client service we’ve been able to find in Guernsey and Alderney,” he says.
“Over the course of the last few years it became apparent that Stenham and Montier shared a similar business and investment ethos. The Montier transaction came out of both companies looking to take their respective businesses forward and to provide a better experience for existing and prospective clients. Obviously our operations in the Channel Islands form an integral part of that client experience.
“Guernsey is a well-respected white-listed jurisdiction located in the developed world, and having a back office somewhere like this gives reassurance to international investors. At the moment we are very happy with the quality of staff and the tax and regulatory perspective, so it makes sense for us to carry on here.”
From small beginnings in Guernsey and Alderney as a family trust company, Stenham was bolstered when South African wealth management group Peregrine Holdings took a controlling stake in 2008.
The acquisition of Montier brings Stenham’s total assets under management to USD3.5bn, a figure that Cocking says the firm has set itself the target of doubling.