Rowan Dartington | FE Financial Express Case Study

FE Analytics a vital part of what we do

Rowan Dartington’s investment director Tim Cockerill has been using FE Analytics for more than ten years, describing it as absolutely integral to the day to day business of the firm. Logging on to the system first thing in the morning and using it constantly throughout the day, Tim has found it to be both a reliable and robust tool. He also appreciates FE’s “sensible” development approach over the years which has ensured that FE Analytics continues to meet his requirements.

The challenge

Established in 1990, Rowan Dartington is a Bristol-based independent wealth manager with seven branches and 90 staff across the South and West of England. Specialising in advisory and discretionary investment management, as well as providing a broad range of stockbroking services, the firm has around 10,000 clients and is responsible for client assets in excess of £850 million.

Tim joined Rowan Dartington in September 2011 as head of collectives research, on the back of more than 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. He took over the role of investment director in September 2013.

In addition to his day job, Tim is also a panellist for FE’s Adviser Fund Index (AFI). The AFI is based on the recommended portfolios of leading UK financial advisers, using the funds they have actually recommended to clients. To be selected as a panellist is therefore quite an accolade. The panel’s fund recommendations ultimately produce three risk-targeted indices: FE AFI Aggressive, Balanced and Cautious, which act as indicators of the UK funds market.

Tim is very clear as to what his goal is: to make money for his clients and to do this by finding the best investments available for a given budget and risk profile. He relies on a combination of investment research and analysis to achieve this goal and has found FE Analytics to provide the support he needs for both of these areas in an “extremely reliable, competitively priced package”.

FE Analytics offers a one-stop shop for high-quality investment research and analysis, portfolio construction and monitoring – “an excellent package” encompassing universal funds, equities and other asset classes.

In testimony to the value of this tool to his day to day business, Tim opens up FE Analytics “first thing” and uses it throughout the day, every day. And he uses almost every aspect of functionality - as do other members of his research and sales teams.

The solution

Performance Analysis

Analysing, explaining and demonstrating the performance of funds and portfolios to clients is an increasingly important part of life for investment managers and IFAs. The ability to analyse their performance against each other, against market benchmarks and rival models is essential. To achieve this, Tim uses FE Analytics, in conjunction with his own spreadsheets.

A feature of FE Analytics that Tim finds particularly helpful is the Dynamic Portfolio Tool. This enables historic portfolios to be constructed in FE Analytics, which means that users can build fund switches into their portfolio histories. When this historic data is then back-tested, the impact of individual fund changes on performance can be seen.

The sales team ‘on the road’ also use FE Analytics’ performance analysis capabilities, running charts to show fund to fund, fund against sector or against other benchmarks to demonstrate the strength of the investment proposition. Data is also taken from FE Analytics to produce fact sheets.

Breadth of market coverage

FE Analytics’ coverage of the market is “superb” according to Tim, citing an example of how this breadth of coverage recently turned a potentially lengthy research operation into a much easier task: “When clients come to Rowan Dartington with existing portfolios, these must all be risk-graded on our system. One such recent instance produced a list of 50 funds – each of which had to be assigned a risk grade. I found the preliminary information I needed to do this in FE Analytics – even for the more esoteric offshore funds.”

Conclusion

Robust, reliable reporting

Reporting is a key part of the system for Tim. Over the years he has constructed a number of reports, using the data from FE Analytics, combined with his fund screening system and various other spreadsheets. The data in these reports is dynamically updated by FE. “The dynamic update feature is very reliable, very robust. In the ten years I’ve been using the system, it has never failed me.”

Over the time that Tim has been using FE Analytics, one might expect something ‘bigger, better or faster’ to have emerged to take its place in his tool-kit. Quite the opposite, however. Tim points to FE’s “very sensible development approach” which has ensured that FE Analytics continues to meet his requirements and enable him to do a better job.

“FE Analytics is good value – it provides you with a lot of information for a reasonable price,” he concludes