Evolution ups private client ante

EVOLUTION group chief executive Alex Snow is today set to confirm the hire of private banker Philip Howell to head up its wealth management business, Williams de Bro&euml;.<br /><br />Howell, who formerly ran Fortis private bank&rsquo;s operations in the UK, Channel Islands, Italy, Spain, Gibraltar and Monaco, will become chief executive of the division.<br /><br />He takes over from Snow himself, who has run Williams de Bro&euml; &ndash; one of the City&rsquo;s oldest stockbroking names, tracing its origins back to the 1870s &ndash; since Evolution bought it from former Dutch owner ING in 2006, for &pound;15m in cash.<br /><br />Snow is understood to have tasked Howell with overseeing an aggressive expansionary strategy at Williams de Bro&euml;, targeting a 100 per cent increase in assets under management over the next three years.<br /><br />Evolution last month revealed record levels of funds under management at the division, which managed &pound;5bn as at the end of September, a 19 per cent increase on the &pound;4.2bn it reported at the end of June. The group expects overall annual profit to exceed current forecasts, after strong performances across its corporate, fixed income and equity divisions.<br /><br />Prior to his role at Fortis, Howell worked in investment banking at Barclays, where he ran the group&rsquo;s South African retail network.