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London firm Bircham & Co has lost two key members of its financial services department with the departures of Charles Galbraith and his assistant Chris Brown. Galbraith and Brown, who came from Lloyds Bank Stockbrokers to set up Birchams' department at the beginning of the year, have returned to Lloyds.
Birchams has replaced him with Christopher Jones-Warner, who was a fund manger for eight years at Quilter Goodison where he managed private client portfolios on a discretionary basis.
Jones-Warner, who also lectures at City University Business School on portfolio management, says he became interested in the legal market after working closely with law firms for five years at Quilter Goodison.
"Solicitors are naturally trusted by people," he says and as a result they are ideally placed to sell financial services.
Setting up a financial services department involves a lot of hard work and investment, he says. "When you set up one of these operations, it's like setting up a shop. There's a lot of paper and you have got to be prepared to roll your sleeves up."
The financial services department has two other employees, John Cahill who is in charge of Stock Exchange operations and Helen Abbey who looks after nominee and PEP administration. Already the department has £8 million under management, Jones-Warner says.
The firm charges investors 0.65 per cent of their discretionary service to manage it and a commission rate of 0.5 per cent. "That is half what the market is offering. We don't believe in charging very much for portfolio investment. Our commission just covers our costs," he says.