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Wealth Manager Interview with Signia CEO Carnegie Smyth

Carnegie Smyth

Published 6/02/2020

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Wealth Manager Interview with Signia CEO Carnegie Smyth

Signia Wealth eyes ISA investors with income fund plans

Signia Wealth is scoping out the retail market with the potential launch of an alternative income fund targeted at ISA investors.

The firm is planning to transfer its experience in the private loans and credit sectors to develop a product for smaller investors. It could also offer the in-house multi-asset portfolios it runs for clients more widely.

Signia chief executive Carnegie Smyth described the ISA market as a ‘fantastic opportunity’.

He said: ‘We continue to believe there is an opportunity for established and regulated investment houses to provide solutions to everyday investors. We are exploring how to make some of our offerings available to the wider market through a digital platform, with a particular focus on the ISA market.

‘With private credit and private lending, we are doing the work anyway and using technology we could provide solutions that smaller investors can access.’

Signia has ambitious plans for its investment proposition. It is eyeing a second raising for a European-focused venture capital technology fund it closed last year and is considering launching its fund of hedge funds proposition into the institutional market.

Last year, the company also quietly extended the range of services it offers clients, establishing a separate division for individuals in the fields of media, the arts and sport – Signia Creative, headed by Dan O’Neill.

It partnered with secret music gig network Sofar Sounds last summer for the launch, bringing in singer Emeli Sandé to perform at a number of events.

‘After successfully launching a philanthropically-driven live music format that combines A-list talent and young artists with charities that directly support communities, we have set the tone for this part of the business,’ Smyth said.

‘We are now looking to innovate faster by providing new products and service lines that will have a particular appeal to the world of art, sport and entertainment.’

Signia, now free of the long-running dispute between its former chief executive officer Nathalie Dauriac and Signia backer and Phones 4u billionaire John Caudwell, which was finally settled last summer, feels like a business trying to make up for lost time.

Smyth describes the firm as a ‘turnaround business’ during that four-year period, admitting it took ‘longer than expected’. He says the firm came out of it with newfound respect from entrepreneurial clients.

‘Our clients are mostly entrepreneurs. They have been through tough times themselves. They say you are resilient and they respect you,’ he added.

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