Policy Papers

Alignment of Interest: How Culture Defines Boutiques

When I talk to NCI’s members, I am often struck by the commonalities. Notwithstanding different investment strategies and different fund sizes, there is always resonance when it comes to prioritising the client and acting in his or her best interests, building a symbiotic relationship that is prolonged and mutually beneficial.

These thoughts were the genesis of NCI and discussed at length in our earliest papers, laying the foundation for supporting a client-centric model of financial services that would help “fix a broken City” and herald the benefits of the

owner-managed model within boutique active asset management. NCI has kept true to that vision, and thrived upon it.

This latest paper draws upon those core concepts, which we would summarize as ‘organizational culture’, and builds a foundation for the future, drawing upon NCI’s past work and interweaving it with academic and practical authorities to draw a compelling conclusion: that the boutique active management sector is especially amenable to the development of positive organizational culture and that this leads to superior outcomes for clients.

To draw another analogy (and perhaps an investment idea for the truly long term!), planets that support life must be in a particular orbit around a suitable star: too far away or too close and you cannot have liquid water, a narrow band known as the ‘Goldilocks Zone”. NCI members, as boutique asset managers, inhabit a similar optimal zone: not too big and not too small, this paper shows that they are just right to support positive organizational culture and can do so in a way that larger active managers and passive funds cannot.

NCI supports truly client-centric asset management and invites new members who share that vision and ‘culture’. I am pleased to be able to introduce this paper and hope that it acts as a catalyst for further work and discussion to advance the asset management and financial services industries that bring so much to the vibrancy of our economies.

Jamie Carter

Chairman, New City Initiative Chief Executive, Oldfield Partners