Mark Holman: «Our First Priority Is the Performance»

Mark Holman, Founder and CEO TwentyFour Asset Management

Mark Holman, founder and CEO of TwentyFour Asset Management, in an interview with finews.asia explains his reasons for going together with Bank Vontobel and why now is a good time to hire.

Mark Holman, chief executive of TwentyFour Asset Management, wasn't looking for a cooperation partner at the time. But when Switzerland's Bank Vontobel approached him, the chance to grow at a faster pace and outside his home market of Britain was too tempting, he said in an interview with finews.asia.

Two years after the first talks, Vontobel in April 2015 acquired 60 percent of the London-based asset manager, which is one of the most successful fixed-income specialist.

Priority One: Performance

For Vontobel, the purchase of a majority stake in TwentyFour Asset Management came at the right time and compensated for a failed takeover in Germany: the Zurich-based private bank in vain had tried to acquire Meriten Investments, an asset manager in Duesseldorf. Of course, TwentyFour isn't exactly a heavy-weight among investment companies in Europe, with assets under management of some 4.5 billion pounds.

«Our first priority is not the sheer size of assets under management, but the performance, which we achieve over the years,» the 48-year-old manager said in the interview.

Outperforming the Bigger Rivals

TwentyFour is well respected by its peers and at times manages to outperform bigger rivals such as Pimco. The company was founded in 2008 and employs 43 people.

To achieve and maintain his success, Holman says he relies on two things: first, the competence and experience of the crew working at TwentyFour, with their work experience of 20 years and more. And second, the concentration on the one speciality, in the case of TwentyFour fixed income. The asset manager has decided not to touch other types of investment.

Bigger Partner a Boon

For the company, it isn't enough to just return a profit in each year, but a healthy performance, according to Holman. The performance is the most relevant figure if he wants to attract new customers.

Holman concedes, that TwentyFour might have got into trouble without the cooperation with Vontobel, because the low-interest monetary policy of central banks and the tightening of regulations make life for small companies increasingly difficult – and expensive.

Vontobel on the other hand was able to significantly expand its presence in London and deepen its fixed-income competence.

Upbeat About Perspectives

The recent initial public offering (IPO) of UK Mortgages Limited on the London stock exchange was a good example for the advantages of the cooperation between the two. TwentyFour received 250 million pounds through the IPO, which it now manages. The investment trust UK Mortgages Limited promises an annual return of as much as 10 percent.

«Our strategy hasn't changed with Vontobel, but we have significantly better opportunities to market our products,» Holman said. «The profit, which is now generated via Vontobel is a bonus for us.»

The dynamic Brit is optimistic about the growth perspectives. He believes that TwentyFour can increase assets under management by an annual 20 percent, in every year. «The difference between a good and a bad performance depends on the people working for the company.»

Maybe, he will have to hire a few more: «Now is the best time to find new employees. The banks are paying out their bonuses in the first quarter. Afterwards, the people are open for new job offers,» Holman adds with a smile.

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