Gresham House plc (LON:GHE) Chief Executive Officer Tony Dalwood caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the 40% increase in AuM, the acquisition of Appian Asset Management, maintaining momentum & continuing to outperform in assets & profit growth and where the growth will come from.
Q1: You’ve announced today that your Assets under Management have risen over 40% to £3.9 billion over what’s been a very tough year. Tony, what’s driven that growth?
A1: We’ve achieved £3.9 billion of Assets under Management and grown to that level in 2020, 35% is organic and it’s really been across the board. It’s really pleasing that this fantastic team within Gresham House has managed to achieve these goals that we set at the start of the year.
The areas that we’re really pleased about, particularly energy storage where we expanded our listed vehicle GRID and that was under Ben Guest and we’re very pleased around that. We managed to achieve some new institutional clients in our forestry area, very, very powerful asset allocation seems to be going to forestry for all sorts of positive sustainability reasons. In addition to that, we’re to final close in our British Strategic Investment Fund which is our sustainable infrastructure and housing fund long-term limited partnership.
So, those are the areas that I would say have driven significant growth, but on top of that our VCT’s have done well and our public equity area where the investment performance has been fantastic and we’re very pleased in that and in an absolute sense, as well as a relative sense.
So, all in all organic growth of 35%+ in a year that we’ve just seen is a pleasing one.
Q2: Now, at the end of the year, you announced the acquisition of Appian Asset Management in Ireland. What are you looking to achieve from the acquisition?
A2: The aim is to provide another platform for long-term growth within GHE. The Brexit situation meant that we had to look at risk mitigating any problems that could occur from bringing in an external or non-UK clients.
On top of that, two years ago, we went into Ireland on the forestry fund and we executed a good transaction there, which we want to expand and grow that platform in forestry, as well as in other areas of sustainable infrastructure renewables.
So, all in all, it’s a platform for i) being the post-Brexit world, if required, and ii) also to accelerate our growth into the Irish community where we’ve got some dialogues going on at the moment.
Q3: Do you think that you can mean maintain this momentum and continue to outperform the industry in asset and profit growth?
A3: Our belief is yes, and there’s a couple of reasons behind that.
One is that we’ve got a superb team and individuals within the organization, they are aspirational, dynamic, the culture of the organisation despite the COVID seems to be continuing very well with a positive mentality.
Importantly, the asset allocations to the areas we’re in continues to grow, the interest in the areas of real assets and strategic equity continues to grow and, as long as we perform well and provide great client service then we will be in a good place for long-term growth and that momentum to continue.
Q4: Where do you think this growth will come from?
A4: Particularly within the real assets area, the structural growth in asset allocation to forestry, renewables, battery storage, social housing, affordable housing, sustainable infrastructure, it’s all there. So, I can see the client, both family offices, ultra-high net worth’s, retail, but also importantly, pension funds, institutions, there is a structural growth in that market.
So, whilst I do expect Gresham House to grow across the across our business, there’s no question there’s structural growth in that area is clear.