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UK's 'heritage' investors increase assets here to €100m in a year

Smith & Williamson, the €13bn investment firm founded in 1881, has grown its assets under management in Ireland to €100m in one year.

The firm's Dublin office has also taken on 14 staff and is targeting the Irish wealth management industry which is experiencing a big shake-up in the ongoing fallout from the recession.

"We've come into the market at a good time with private clients really looking for conservative advice on how to pass on their wealth to the next generation," said Christopher Kenny, a director of S&W.

Kenny added that S&W had originally looked at opening an office in Ireland five years ago but decided against it.

"We shied away from the Irish market when the Celtic Tiger was in full swing. The way we did business didn't resonate then. Returns of 6-7 per cent a year didn't interest. That has changed," he said.

S&W poached Cedric Cruess Callaghan and Frank Brennan from rival Goodbody Stockbrokers. Derek Ryan from the Irish Pensions Trust and Jonathan Sheahan, brother of Frankie Sheahan, the ex-international rugby player, from Davy stockbrokers have also joined the S&W ranks.

"What we're offering high net worth investors is a focus on outperforming cash deposits over the longer term," Sheahan said. "We're on the same side as the families to whom we are giving long-term advice," he added. "Our fees and investment style are very transparent."

Kenny said S&W could continue to expand in Ireland by winning over investors who have "lost trust" in existing firms or want to look at new investment managers as Ireland's private wealth management sector consolidates.

"We don't have aggressive targets," Kenny added, "we are an English heritage firm which is in Ireland for the long-term -- with Irish staff who can offer investors the best of London investment experience, twinned with Irish service."

Sunday Indo Business