UK - Edinburgh-based asset manager Baillie Gifford (BG) will reopen its doors to segregated mandates from UK clients as of next month, having refused new business since November last year....

The firm, run as a partnership, with £21bn(e33bn) of assets under management had a record £2bn new business wins in 2000.

“We had reached our new business targets for the year at that point and we had a large pipeline of clients we had taken on and decided to close for new business then,” says Nigel Morecroft, director responsible for new UK clients. “We saw it as the best way to ensure that we could continue to provide highest standards to our clients. The key driver was the interest of our existing clients.”

The hiatus gave the group some welcome breathing space to digest the new wins and slot in some management changes, including the decision to move to new offices in Edinburgh.
Morecroft adds that the firm had an invitation from consultants to present on April 24, but this was turned down under the moratorium. “ We have not been responding to requests, but we did honour commitments to any clients coming through at the tail-end of the year.”

He adds that there is a tension between good active management and growing new business. “We have to deliver good investment performance and top client service.
“ And if you are growing the business at the same time this has to be tested. Our focus has to be our existing clients.
“We are not a very marketing-driven organisation. We are good at working with a relatively small number of bigger clients and concentrating on them,” he says.

UK pension fund clients with £10.2bn account for nearly 50% of the business, with international clients, particularly US pensions funds both corporate and public, accounting for another 28%.
The firm is owned by 20 full time working partners.