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Capital Group “world’s finest” – Greenwich (correct)

(Corrects name) GLOBAL – Reclusive asset management firm Capital Group is the best professional services firm in the world, according to the founder of consulting firm Greenwich Associates.

Charles Ellis told a seminar that Capital, the third largest investment manager in the world, is the “finest professional firm of any form in the world”.

He said Capital, which shuns publicity and does not advertise, has the largest research capability of any financial firm in the world. He praised its ethical culture and pointed out that managers are chosen by surveying employees.

Staff were compensated by results, over a five-year running average basis, and not on “performance” – a term he said the firm would see as too “Hollywood”. And he said that people were hired on the basis that it was “possible to like a great deal”.

The remarks came during Ellis’s keynote speech at a seminar on business ethics at the Securities & Investment Institute.

He has written a book on the firm called “Capital: The Story of Long-Term Investment Excellence”. In his talk, Ellis contrasted Capital with the decline and fall of accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

Allen drew on his own private life and business career to provide pointers on ethical conduct. He recounted a salutary tale of a college friend who had the opportunity to become chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This role could have led to a career in politics and even, perhaps, the White House. But the friend’s career stumbled when it emerged he had been persuaded into an ethical breach by the Nixon administration.

Ellis argued made the point that ethics is not about box-ticking but personal – and corporate – integrity.

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