Next Gen: Ollie Cutting, MASECO Private Wealth

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What was it that originally attracted you to the world of finance/wealth management?

I’ve always been interested in the markets and macroeconomics, and initially I worked for EY in management consulting where I worked with banks, wealth managers and the government on various financial projects.

I was compelled to move into private wealth management as I enjoy the personal connection with clients and helping people to plan for the future. There is a high degree of problem solving involved and I enjoy the challenge.

I also feel that the education system has left many adults with a lack of understanding of how investments, financial planning and retirement/estate planning and it is rewarding to be able to help clients through the complexities in my role as a wealth manager at MASECO, as we specialise in US connected individuals and families.

Who is your investment hero/someone you admire in the industry?

I have a lot of respect for David Booth, the executive chairman and co-founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA). He was a student of nobel laureate Eugene Fama who’s work on the efficient market hypothesis lead to the belief that there were more efficient ways to invest from a risk/return perspective than selecting individual stocks.

In part thanks to the modernisation of trading technology, Booth was able to take what he had learned from Fama and others such as Harry Markowitz and turn theory into practice. DFA is now managing over $600bn in assets and they continue to explore new ways to generate investment premia for clients.

What is the biggest issue facing this generation in the wealth management space?

There are two main elements to this for me; firstly, in a globally connected world with information at our fingertips, I think that the next generation of investors (our future clients) will think differently about inheriting their parents’ investment managers alongside their wealth.

The second is the increased demand for sustainable investment portfolios and how to ensure a portfolio is efficient from a risk/return perspective while also having a positive impact on the planet and on society. I see these both as opportunities as well as challenges.

What was your first/best/worst investment decision?

I don’t currently sit on the MASECO Investment Committee, however I feel we responded particularly well to changing dynamics as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and also stayed true to our strategy.

We have long since been overweight to value stocks, for example, and as a result of not taking too much duration risk on the fixed income side and making smart reductions in exposure, for example to commercial and retail real estate, we were able to ensure we maintained our value exposure right when the premium kicked in.

What advice would you give to young talent who want to enter the world of wealth management?

Make sure you work for a firm with values that align to your own, and that provides advice and strategies that you would happily purchase yourself or recommend to your family. I think its often easy to be enticed by the bright lights of the major banks, but you may find yourself better suited to working with a firm that has a clear Investment Philosophy that you believe in.

Its also a good idea to seek out a niche market – we are specialists in working with Americans in the UK or Brits that have become US taxpayers abroad and its an excellent way to learn and to maintain focus.

In what way does being of a younger generation benefit/bring an advantage to your role?

We are looking to build long-term relationships in this industry and I think its comforting for clients to know that younger generation managers will be at their side for the majority if not all of their financial journey. I don’t think this is necessarily unique to younger managers, but I do feel its important to maintain a desire for knowledge, which perhaps is easier when you are younger.

For example, it would be foolish not to read up on developments in blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies or NFTs, even if they don’t form part of your strategy.

 

What is the most significant moment of your career so far in wealth management?

I think probably signing my first client as a wealth manager. I had confidence in my abilities and worked closely with Tor Flonaes, one of our partners, who had taught me a great deal but its always nice to confirm these beliefs by providing good advice and starting a new client relationship on your own.

What are your top 3 fund picks at the moment? 

DFA International Value

MetWest Unconstrained Bond Fund

iShares JPM EM Local Currency Bond Fund

Perfect tea/biscuit combination?

Yorkshire tea and a Tunnocks caramel wafer.

Marooned on a desert island – one book, one album, one practical item?

Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight.

Catcher in the rye – J. D. Sallinger.

A water filter.

You have a time machine – do you go to the future or past, what date and time and where?

I would go to the year 2200 and see how much of the tech we’ve seen in sci-fi movies has become a reality. I wonder what Elon Musk successfully builds on Mars.

You can live in any country in the world from tomorrow but you can never leave that country, where do you choose?

I would say Canada, as I play ice hockey and spent time out there in the past, but I’m not sure I could handle -20 degrees in the winter! I think I’d land on the UK!

What three people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party? 

David Attenborough, Muhammad Ali in his prime, Marilyn Monroe.

You are granted one mild superpower – what do you choose? 

The ability to go to the pub, with only 6 people from two separate households…

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