History Press Releases

Dani Hristova appointed as Chief Executive Officer 

Appointment follows the announcement of new Chairman, Sebastian Stewart and seven new Board members earlier this year

The Independent Investment Management Initiative (“IIMI”), a boutique asset management think tank whose membership accounts for approximately £500 billion in client assets, has appointed Dani Hristova as its new Chief Executive Officer. The appointment follows the engagement of seven new Board members as well as a new Chairman, Sebastian Stewart earlier this year, deepening the value that the IIMI can bring to its membership

In her new position, Hristova will work closely with Stewart and the Board to deliver on the IIMI’s refreshed core aims – which includes promoting the strengths of boutique asset managers and helping to shape the industry’s regulatory environment – as well as facilitating commercial opportunities for its growing membership base.

Hristova joins from Nordea Asset Management, where she was responsible for building the firm’s presence in the UK insurance market. This involved developing Nordea’s entry strategy into the insurance sector, as well as representing Nordea within the insurance market more broadly. She previously held positions at Schroders Investment Management and Legal and General Investment Management.

The IIMI provides an independent, expert voice in the debate over the future of the asset management industry, supporting boutique asset managers amidst a backdrop of increasing consolidation and fast-changing regulations. Together with the Board, Hristova will drive the IIMI towards fulfilling its ambition to shape a regulatory environment that supports boutiques, drive best practice and promote the strengths of specialist asset managers.

Sebastian Stewart, Chairman at the IIMI, commented: “Dani has a deep understanding of the challenges that both asset managers and their clients face as we navigate an evolving and increasingly consolidated industry landscape. Dani’s experience and skillset make her very well-placed to help the IIMI’s members promote the strength of investment specialism and innovation, drive best practice and ultimately provide market-leading investment solutions to investors around the world. On behalf of all our members, I also want to thank Toby Illingworth, who has now stepped down as Executive Director, for his significant contribution to the IIMI over the last 10 years.”

Dani Hristova said: “I am delighted to be joining the IIMI as its new Chief Executive Officer. The asset management industry is facing a multitude of complex challenges with respect to changing regulations in a post-Brexit world – mounting cost pressure, responsible capital allocation and ensuring suitable investment solutions are delivering long-term value to clients, to name a few. Having worked for some of the industry’s financial giants, who leverage scale to help address these challenges, it is imperative that smaller, entrepreneurial firms are well-represented as we jointly navigate these industry challenges and focus on the best outcomes for investors. The IIMI raises the voice of entrepreneurial, specialist investment boutiques that are entirely focused on and aligned with the interests of their clients, and I am excited to play an important role in driving the IIMI and its members forward through the next period of the organisation’s growth”

History Press Releases

Sebastian Stewart appointed as Chairman

There Independent Investment Management Initiative (IIMI) has appointed Sebastian Stewart as Chairman. He replaces Nick Mottram who has stepped down after completing his three year term in the role.

Sebastian is Head of Client Services at Somerset Capital Management, the specialist Global Emerging Markets investment management firm founded in 2007.

Sebastian graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2012 with a First Class degree in Mathematics and Business Studies and he joined Somerset in October of the same year. Sebastian is a CFA charterholder. 


Independent Investment Management Initiative

NCI relaunches as the Independent Investment Management Initiative.

History Policy Papers

Decentralising Fund Management: Encouraging Regional Growth

I am pleased to introduce this paper on the opportunities for decentralising fund management in the UK and encouraging regional growth.

Innovation by entrepreneurial UK asset managers in delivering access to investment markets via collective investment schemes has gone hand in hand over the years with the development of ever wider investment expertise. The lawyer Philip Rose founded The Foreign & Colonial General Trust in 1868, and Ian Fairbairn and George Booth launched M&G’s First British Fixed Trust in 1931 to replicate the resilience and popularity of mutual funds in the United States. Adaptation and evolution have continued over the years to allow UK asset and wealth management firms to remain competitive in delivering their investment expertise to different categories of client. Unit Trusts have morphed into OEICs, and front end charges and bid/offer spreads have disappeared.

Both fresh and familiar challenges, from the COVID economic shock to Brexit, are emerging which make the UK ripe for a new generation fund structure which could also be a catalyst for industry and job growth in servicing the assets invested in a new UK domiciled fund structure.

Nick Mottram

Chairman, New City Initiative
Partner & Chairman, Dalton Strategic Partnership LLP

History Policy Papers

Facilitating Connectivity: Strengthening UK-APAC Fund Ties

Despite the relentless political uncertainty gripping the UK, the country’s position as one of the dominant centres for investment management in the world remains unaffected. Second only to the US by size, the UK’s asset management industry is responsible for overseeing £7.7 trillion in capital, of which £3.1 trillion are mandates on behalf of foreign investors, a figure that is largely unchanged since 2017. The European Economic Area (plus Switzerland) accounts for the majority (59%) of the foreign sourced assets controlled by domestic UK fund houses although non-EEA capital comprises a large proportion of that AuM total too.

Figure 1: Assets managed by UK firms for overseas clients
History Press Releases

Nick Mottram appointed as Chairman

IIMI, the boutique asset management think tank, announces the appointment of Nick Mottram as Chairman, effective 1 December 2019. Nick succeeds Jamie Carter, CEO of Oldfield Partners, who will remain on the board.

Susannah de Jager continues as Deputy Chairperson, and has been joined in the role by Sebastian Stewart, Head of Client Services at Somerset Capital Management.

Nick Mottram is the Chairman and Global & Asian Equities Fund Manager at Dalton Strategic Partnership, having joined the firm in March 2010. He has over 30 years of investment experience, with other senior roles including Founding Partner at Origin Asset Management, Head of Equities at Investec Asset Management and Global Head of Research at Schroder Investment Management. Nick is a Chartered Accountant and has a degree in English from the University of Kent.

Sebastian Stewart is a Partner at Somerset Capital and Head of Client Services, having joined the firm in 2012. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a first class degree in Mathematics and Business Studies and is a CFA charterholder.

Founded in 2010, IIMI speaks for owner-managed firms concerned with the alignment of interests with clients, and aims to offer an independent, expert voice in the debate over the future of financial regulation and competition.

“Dalton Strategic Partnership has been a member of IIMI for many years now and I have always been impressed by its focus and work. Jamie Carter has left IIMI extremely well placed going forward and I would like to thank him for his leadership.

“I look forward to meeting with the membership and continuing IIMI’s work of promoting the interests of owner-managed firms. In these times of change, it is more important than ever that the boutique asset management industry is given a voice to help shape the debate around the future of financial regulation, as well as advocate the need for a competitive landscape.”

Nick Mottram, newly appointed Chairman of IIMI

“It has been a privilege to serve as IIMI’s Chairman and I would like to thank the rest of the team for their ongoing support during my tenure. I am delighted with the progress we have made, notably the recent launch of IIMI Singapore. Nick has long been a champion of IIMI’s work and I have no doubt that he is the right person to chair the group as it builds on its successes to date.”

Jamie Carter, outgoing Chairman of IIMI 



IIMI Singapore launches

IIMI, the boutique asset management think tank, is pleased to announce that it has launched operations in Singapore in response to demand from asset managers in the region.

There are 11 founding members in IIMI Singapore, which is chaired by Timothy Hay, the CEO of Somerset Capital Management’s Singapore office.

Since its foundation in 2010, IIMI has offered an expert voice in the debate over the future of financial regulation, representing independent, owner-managed firms that are entirely focused on and aligned with the interests of their clients and investors. Today, its European membership is comprised of 46 leading independent asset management firms from the UK, France, Norway and Switzerland, managing approximately £500 billion of clients’ money and employing several thousand people.

Both IIMI branches in Europe and Singapore, along with their combined membership, will work with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the FCA to open up and increase opportunities between the two markets as they share experiences and ideas. This includes supporting MAS efforts to develop the Variable Capital Company (VCC) fund structure, on which IIMI will hold a meeting next month with London members and a delegation from MAS.

Commenting on the launch, IIMI Chairman Jamie Carter said: “We are very proud of what IIMI has achieved over the last nine years in promoting the values and interests of boutique asset managers, and we feel the time is now right to expand our geographical presence. Singapore has one of the most thriving asset management communities in the East and we look forward to working with the new IIMI team there as we maintain an open dialogue with both the MAS and FCA for the benefit of our expanding membership.”

IIMI Singapore’s Chairman Tim Hay added: “IIMI has established itself as a respected voice in the asset management industry and we look forward to leveraging its experience and learnings for our new IIMI Singapore members. Owner-managed, client-centric firms play a key role in preserving the stability and long-term focus of the financial sector and we are pleased to support the important work of independent asset managers in Singapore and the surrounding region.”

History Press Releases

Jamie Carter appointed as Chairman

IIMI, an association of leading independent asset management firms, announces the appointment of Jamie Carter as Chairman, succeeding Dominic Johnson, who steps down having completed a full term as Chairman.

Susannah de Jager will assume the role of Deputy Chairman, previously held by Jamie, while Jonathon Read has been appointed into the [newly created] position of Policy Director. Both appointments are effective immediately.

Jamie Carter is the Chief Executive and one of the founding partners of Oldfield Partners (OP), a boutique fund management firm which manages circa $4 billion for endowment funds, pension funds, charities, family offices, and high net worth individuals.

Susannah de Jager is a Partner and the Chief Operating Officer of S. W. Mitchell Capital, a European equities boutique managing $2bn. She joined SWMC in late 2010 and headed up the business development team with particular focus on the US and marketing of the firm more generally until 2014 when she took on the role of COO. Susannah was made a Partner in January 2015.

Jonathon Read is Chairman and Founding Director of Your Credit Union, as well as Advisor to the Board of Civilised Investments Ltd. He is also Founder of Triborough Opportunities, a charity formed to encourage financial literacy and promote sustainable financial inclusion.

Founded in 2010, IIMI speaks for owner-managed firms concerned with the alignment of interests with clients, and aims to offer an independent, expert voice in the debate over the future of financial regulation and competition.

“First as a board member, and more recently as Deputy Chairman, it has been a privilege working alongside Dominic as he has led the NCI. The next few years will be important for the boutique asset management industry and I am looking forward to working alongside Susannah, Jonathon and the rest of the team as we seek to amplify our members’ voices and help shape the debate on financial reform and the positioning of the industry post-Brexit.”

Jamie Carter, newly appointed Chairman of IIMI

It has been an honour working at the helm of the NCI and I am pleased to be leaving the role in such capable hands. I look forward to continuing my support of the NCI as a member of the board as we continue to advocate the vital role played by boutique asset managers in our economy.”

Dominic Johnson, outgoing Chairman of IIMI


History Policy Papers

A New Regime for Asset Management: Why the UK should adopt a Dual Funds Regime

The New City Initiative (NCI) was formed to provide a collective voice for smaller boutique managers which were being overlooked by policymakers, regulators and to a lesser extent customers, who did not always appreciate the strong alignment of interests and risk management culture that differentiates boutiques from larger firms.

Recent years have seen waves of regulation and boutiques have shown the flexibility required to deal with this despitetheir smaller size. Post-Brexit, we operate in a world of “VUCA” – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. This presents challenges for all firms, but therein lies the opportunity.

The exact regulatory and competitive landscape is still to be finalised. It is therefore vital that the industry puts forwardideas and potential solutions for debate and that those responsible for shaping the agenda, negotiating terms and planning for the future, open a dialogue with all participants. In this paper, the NCI outlines how an agile and thoughtfullyconsidered dual funds regime in the UK could help firms retain EU access, but also expand and grow beyond the EU.

This regime – as the paper points out – would allow for further innovation by UK managers in a global marketplace. Fund management is one of the UK’s most successful exports, and we feel a dual regime respecting both UK and EU interests, can bring about new opportunities and be practical, proportionate and fully protective of consumer interests.

The key for all businesses, not just within financial services, is clarity and certainty, and this must be provided by the government. The financial infrastructure and regulation of the UK is so intertwined with Europe that Brexit will require time and patience to implement effectively. This paper provides one solution which could be implemented with relative ease.

Jamie Carter

Deputy Chairman, New City Initiative Chief Executive, Oldfield Partners

History Policy Papers

Asset management in Europe: The case for reform

The key trade-off for any business is that of costs versus income. The issues surrounding regulation are very similar – businesses need to operate in a regulated market, but the benefits of regulation need to outweigh the costs. This premise is very relevant for the European Union project. The free trade zone initially created by the European Economic Community (EEC) and the efficiencies (supposedly) generated by a single currency, all should lead to an increase in trade, benefitting all concerned.

However, the investment management community and especially the ‘boutique’ (i.e. smaller firms) community find that the regulatory burden imposed upon us by the EU (AIFMD, MiFID II, etc.) is so expensive and onerous, that in themselves these regulations are an issue in terms of our business sector prospering. We also find that the implied benefits of an open and free trade zone are largely illusory. As companies trying to sell our products across Europe, we are constantly obstructed by an uneven application of the law, ignorance of the free trade rules, and in some cases protectionism. In this paper, this is clearly illustrated in our case studies of accessing Germany and Slovenia. The costs of the regulations in many instances outweigh the advantages.

This is a serious situation to find ourselves in, and in collaboration with Open Europe we wanted to bring a positive case for reform in Europe at a time when both the economic and political basis of the principal of Europe are coming under increasing pressure. We have laid out in this paper a clear series of changes we would like to see made, as well as illustrated the barriers we currently experience to a ‘proper’ free trade zone in Europe. We have specifically avoided trying to make political judgements, leaving that for the politicians, but we do believe that bigger, freer trade zones, properly regulated, are highly desirable for all members of the New City Initiative and we hope that our thoughts here help us achieve this goal.

Dominic Johnson

Chairman, New City Initiative
CEO and Founding Partner of Somerset Capital Management LLP