A list and Rolls Royces: Anthony Yadgaroff of the Allenbridge Group
Anthony Yadgaroff started his working life some forty years ago in commodity trading but these days can usually be found at high society parties mixing with the world’s greatest entrepreneurs; lunching at the Cipriani or taking tea at his club in Berkeley Square.
Starting his working life in the City, in his grandfathers business: A H Yadgaroff & Co and also working with his father, his early career was spent in commodity trading.
Although a healthy business and career choice, he didn’t warm to the sector so eventually decided he would peel away to do something new. “I had discovered a liking for the investment management side of the business and looking after clients” so he put together plans to launch his own company.
Departing the family business some time later, he set up Allenbridge in 1973 and found a comfortable niche advising on specialist tax schemes. “I had frequently been asked by tax professionals about tax schemes but realised not much information was available so he started the Tax Shelter Report.” Says Anthony. So he decided to dedicate himself to giving specialist tax advice and assisted in putting together expert structures for accountants and their clients.
The first “product” was setting up small pension schemes which took off rapidly and unsurprisingly opened up another business opportunity. He soon realised that pension clients also needed
investment management advice, so in 1984 Allenbridge evolved to also provide this service.
Things went swimmingly until understandably the pressure of making, continued successful investment management decisions and the increasing regulatory burden caused Anthony to
reconsider this role. He ultimately decided to quit the investment management sector to concentrate full time on research. The result of this decision meant he needed
to hand over the investment management work for his pension clients.
Wanting to do a good job of the handover he decided to approach a consultant for advice on who best to refer to. He found the
advice was lacklustre and hardly a match for his own experience. With his usual flair Anthony decided to make the introductions himself and devised a witty plan to launch “meet the client” days to put the parties together. In grand style
he also decided to invite press along for the ride in typical ’80’s extravagance, he bought a Rolls Royce and with dandyish form, set about ferrying clients wanting investment management work around to eager and hungry managers. “It was great fun.” Says Anthony.
Eventually though the sheen of making introductions wore thin as clients found new homes and Anthony was left trying to attract new business to keep the flow. He says. “It was hard work, coupled with managing the press, who were sometimes kind but other times were not.”
With editorial attention steering clients directly to investment managers and not to him as introducer, he later decided the idea was wearing thin and stopped his Rolls Royce adventures. An obvious visionary, this change of direction set him blazing off on another trail.
Whilst he no longer wanted to undertake investment management nor make introductions he knew he could score a hit by providing independent research to help clients understand the differences between investment managers to navigate the sometimes treacherous waters. He says. “Clients were interested in regular check ups to see if their portfolio was performing so I devised a private client index to monitor investment management performance.”
The idea was a hit and it became clear there was a need for a service that helped relieve clients of the burden of being
responsible for their portfolios. “Clients didn’t want to spend time running their portfolio’s” confirms Anthony. “It is and was then as difficult as running a business which most people find hard work.” He says that clients wanted analysis and would come to him for help with tax structures then buy the Allenbridge fund management performance research.
These days Anthony explains that half their core business is now selling research and half is using it to help clients. By the late 80’s accountants were moving into the research space so they naturally moved to increase their research
capability into different markets. He started with the retail market looking at fees, research and ongoing monitoring which instantly struck gold, now boasting more than twenty four thousand clients using the service.
Later building on their good work, Allenbridge also moved into a consulting roll, up against big names like Cambridge consulting and spent a lot of time helping clients in a trusted advisor role. He says. “Many were afraid they were being sold products by banks that weren’t suitable.”Allenbridge also help advise trustees about their investment managers and benchmarks portfolio’s.
Anthony, who owns ninety seven percent of Allenbridge Group Plc, also has another string to his bow with Affluenza which aims to help very wealth families with personal issues. “We often found children wouldn’t be motivated to manage money so we stepped in to offer help and advice.” He says one of his clients was left ¬£70mn but detested the trust and trustees
who presided over the money, which led to some conflict.
“The problem was his grandfather had put money in trust to skip a generation which had caused all sorts of hardships and problems within the family and with his father.” Allenbridge stepped into try and ease the conflict.
In terms of size, Allenbridge has thirty two staff and their recent acquisition of the pensions consultancy Epic brings a
further fifteen into the fold.They offer funds and hedge fund research, tax advice and tax products. “We review documentation and make sure it’s appropriate, almost like giving someone a pass in an exam.” Says Anthony. “We are talking to private banks who may not have hedge fund expertise to provide research or advice with rebranding. We also analyse Hedge Funds and
do due diligence for wealthy families. “Finishing off the interview, Anthony says. “The family office space is one I am
increasingly interested in. We want to help families understand the structure and analyse family offices performance to see how
they operate. With the move toward this type of set up it’s important that clients understand what they are getting into and the problems that may beset them.”