Victoria PIO has European investors in its sights

More than ever, as uncertainty and volatility continue, there is demand for independent advice and innovative products. Victoria Private Investment Office discusses how the team will meet client needs

London-based Victoria Private ­Investment Office is targeting high net worth clients across Europe, hoping to double assets under ­management from about £500m today within the next three years, and increase the client base from 25 to 100 investors.

CEO and co-founder Phillip Russell (pictured) said the shortcomings of the banking and investment industries had indicated a growing need for independent advice from skilled and experienced professionals, without necessarily channelling flows through funds.

With co-founder Inno van den Berg, he is aiming to build ­consultancy alongside discretionary investment services.

Victoria was born out of an ­Australian family office established in London in 2003 for the Scanlon family, a leading name behind the global Foster’s brewing business.

When the family office was ­repatriated to Australia in 2007, ­Russell and van den Berg bought the rump of the advisory business, which re-emerged as Victoria Private ­Investment Office in March 2008.

Russell says the firm, which ­targets clients primarily in the UK and Europe with £2m investable assets, aims to offer a non-competing service, alongside legal or tax advisers.

He explains: “We do not hold client money, and we are not trying to break down relationships the client may already have. Our relationship is direct with the client, not the product provider.” He feels private investors need skilled finance advisors on their side as they are presented with an array of products and opportunities.

“It is not just about the first step, which is the choice,” he adds. “It is also about ongoing monitoring. ­Advisers tend to undertake a risk assessment at the start and then leave it. The parameters never change. This can be extremely damaging to the ­client’s assets.”

Independent Minded

Victoria, as an owner-managed firm, guards its independence fiercely. With no dominant ­shareholder or client, there is no pressure or ­obligation to promote any particular asset class or financial product.

Although it has one small fund, which ensures relevant market ­capability and engagement, it does not consider itself a fund business.

For professional and fiduciary clients, the firm provides ­managed accounts, which give access to ­institutional pricing. Some clients are interested in taking significant stakes in unquoted companies, but ­essentially the business has grown out of the background, skills and c­ontacts of the founders.

Neil Mendoza, with longstanding interests in film finance and the arts, joined as chairman in 2010, with a background of 30 years in finance and publishing, creating, owning and selling businesses from energy to specialist film.

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