Eric Mellor, Miton Optimal
The licence will enable Miton Optimal to offer discretionary portfolio and investment management services to accredited investors, financial advisors, trust companies and other institutional clients in Singapore, Eric Mellor, the firm’s managing director and head of portfolio management at Miton Optimal Asia, said in a statement.
Mellor told FSA that before receiving the licence, the firm already had a representative office in Singapore for 10 years, but it was just a client support office and was not permitted to conduct any investment management activity.
Previously, Asia-based investors seeking discretionary fund management (DFM) services were generally directed to the firm’s Guernsey office, according to Mellor. However, in 2016, group CEO Scott Campbell wanted the firm to be able to offer locally managed DFM services in Asia. A full capital markets licence was received in February.
Within Asia, the firm does not plan to open more offices. “This will be driven by future demand for DFM services,” Mellor explained, noting that its clients in the region are primarily based in Singapore.
At the moment, the Singapore office has four staff, which includes a head of client services and Patrick Pitcher, the chairman of Asia business.
Mellor first joined the firm in February and was previously from Swiss wealth platform provider Avaloq, where he served as the Asia-Pacific partnership director for the previous four years. Before that, he was at Singapore-based International Financial Services and HSBC Global Asset Management, according to the statement.
“The current advisory landscape is evolving and changing rapidly, especially here in Asia. Rising operational costs and increased regulatory pressures are just two of the factors that are leading more firms to reconsider their operating models and we are seeing a steady rise in the engagement of professional, outsourced investment management,” Mellor said.
Miton Optimal was established in 2002 and has 10 offices globally. It has been aggressively expanding, particularly in the UK. Earlier this month, it announced that it agreed to acquire Jersey-based Orchard Wealth Management, which manages a Dublin-listed Ucits fund that invests in dividend-yielding stocks, according to sister publication International Advisor.
The acquisition adds £66m ($93.5m) in assets under management, lifting Miton Optimal’s AUM to around £880m.
In January, it acquired UK-based Central Investment Planning, which is an investment advisory business offering services to high net worth clients, according to a separate statement from the firm.
Also in the UK, Coram Asset Management, which is a subsidiary of Miton Optimal that specialises in multi-asset solutions, acquired UK-based discretionary fund manager Minerva Fund Managers in June last year, according to an IA report. Minerva was thereafter renamed Miton Optimal (UK).
In January last year, the firm also expanded in the Isle of Man through a merger with investment advisory firm Blythe Financial, according to a separate statement.