Meet the manager

Alex
Gulliford

LONDON OFFICE

BORN
Putney, London

LIVES 
Wimbledon, London

FAMILY
Married with two children

STARTED JM FINN & CO
2006

CURRENT POSITION
Senior Investment Manger

HOBBIES
Rugby, Cricket, Golf

SUMMER HOLIDAY DESTINATION
A family friendly resort in Europe and/or New Forest, Hants

HIGHEST SCORE ON THE CRICKET PITCH
127 n.o.

BORN
Putney, London

LIVES 
Wimbledon, London

FAMILY
Married with two children

STARTED JM FINN & CO
2006

CURRENT POSITION
Senior Investment Manger

HOBBIES
Rugby, Cricket, Golf

SUMMER HOLIDAY DESTINATION
A family friendly resort in Europe and/or New Forest, Hants

HIGHEST SCORE ON THE CRICKET PITCH
127 n.o.

 

You’ve been with the firm for nearly 10 years – what was the route to becoming an investment manager? 
After University I studied Law for two years but decided against that career and joined JM Finn in my first full time job. My father and two brothers work in commercial property but I have always been interested in investing – from a young age I remember checking the progress (or not!) of my father’s shares on teletext and updating him when he came home from work every day. Working as a private client investment manager combines my interest in markets with the personable nature of looking after individuals, so it seemed a natural career choice. 

What is your approach to finding new clients?
Word of mouth is still one of the best marketing tools, but in an increasingly competitive environment clients aren’t always going to be coming to us so I have made an effort to improve my potential referral network by attending more networking events. As JM Finn’s reputation and profile has grown, new clients and intermediaries have been more eager to engage with us, which also helps.

What is your preferred asset class for a long term investor today? 
History shows that UK property (residential and commercial) has been a fantastic place to invest, but it is highly cyclical and with interest rates at a low point I think it’s unlikely that such high returns can be sustained. Equities are fairly valued at the moment and offer a better income than cash and gilts so for the long term, I would have to opt for Equities.

As the firm’s analyst for property investment funds, what’s your view on this sector?
The asset class has performed very well over the last few years, driven by strong demand from investors seeking attractive yields and the perceived security of UK bricks and mortar. Further growth is likely to be driven by rental increases, whereas any significant yield compression seems unlikely, given interest rates are set to rise soon. As always, it is a matter of timing and activity is still buoyant but sentiment in the property market can change very quickly. 

In your view, what makes a good investment manager?
I think being disciplined and adhering to general investment fundamentals (e.g valuations) rather than responding to short term ‘hype’ leads to a superior performance over time. I also think instinct plays an important role and this is developed through experience. Finally, I believe being able to set one’s emotions aside and think rationally is crucial – especially in volatile markets such as these. 

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