By Jon Watkins, BL Global
As the chief executive of Enhance Group, the fintech-based investment monitoring and advisory boutique for fiduciaries, family offices and charities, Tom Wiseman has a clear view of the emerging trends across both the technology and financial services sectors. He tells us how tech is powering the business to further growth and his expectations for the future of financial services
Tell us about your background and your early career.
I’m not from the Channel Islands originally. I was born and raised in Winchester before going to university in Sheffield, where I studied law.
I undertook that course because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do and I thought that, with a generalist academic subject at a red brick university, I could go and enjoy myself and work out what I wanted to do afterwards.
Shortly after finishing my degree I joined the graduate scheme at UK-based stockbrokerage Charles Stanley. There, I spent the first couple of years on a rotational scheme working across different departments in, ultimately, a very substantial wealth management and stockbroking business.
I enjoyed it, but I felt at that time – and this has very much changed now in that business – that it was a fairly old-fashioned way of going about managing money.
So I jumped off the graduate scheme there and I joined a business called Seven Investment Management (7IM), based in London.
What I liked about 7IM was that it was very small at the time – 25 to 30 people when I joined in 2009 – and it was fairly innovative and unconventional in that it blended together technology and investment management.
The business had – and still has – its own intermediary platform that enabled third parties to run their own portfolios and IFAs to invest their clients’ monies. I thought that was an incredibly interesting, powerful way to distribute an investment service.
I was on the investment management side, but so much of our distribution came through a platform, came through technology. And what really spoke to me was the way in which technology was integrated with third parties, in particular IFA software.
The concept of looking after an IFA in Scotland that could open up an account and invest money with me, almost at the touch of a button, through slick, straight-through processing was, I thought, remarkable.
That was the first time I guess I really saw the potential and excitement of technology – of fintech – and I stayed there for about seven years until the business was sold to Caledonia Investment Trust.
How did the move to Enhance Group materialise?
As an investment manager at 7IM, I had been working very closely with investment consultants, including Enhance, running portfolios for investment consultants and their clients.
And what I really liked about investment consultancy and investment oversight more generally was the pure independence of it all.
I always felt that it was a great position to be in – an investment consultant can choose any investment solution on the market for their clients, accessing best-of-breed opportunities and a range of investment philosophies. That was naturally intellectually interesting.
And, when I was leaving 7IM, an opportunity arose to join Enhance. So I took on a role that was initially focused on setting up a regulated business in London, providing investment consultancy – manager selection and strategic advice to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and family offices.
So, at the end of 2015, I established what Enhance now calls ‘Consultancy’, with my colleague Dr Ruzhen Li, who heads up that particular service line.
Read the full article here, or using the viewer below.