FOLLOWING the 2008 financial crisis – when most people in financial services were losing their heads – Nathalie Dauriac-Stoebe was busy drawing up plans to go it alone by setting up Signia Wealth. She soon moved on from her role as a senior client partner at Coutts (and one of the four founding members of the Coutts Private Office).
Dauriac-Stoebe doesn’t have a bad word to say about her previous employer or banks in general, but she does feel that the financial crisis exposed many wealth management models as too UK-focused. When the idea for Signia Wealth crystallised, she found that clients and friends in finance and colleagues agreed. Within a few of months she had over £2bn of assets under management.
As with many entrepreneurs, Dauriac-Stoebe emphasises that it’s the “quality of the people in my team” that matters most. She picks each personally. She says “my target has not been growth, but bringing in the right people”. And when at Signia, she tries to foster a culture of collaboration – internal competition isn’t encouraged.
The business of managing wealth is personal. The children of clients come into the Signia offices for work experience to learn about investments, helping to teach the next generation to put their family’s wealth in context so that they act responsibly in financial matters. Dauriac-Stoebe also hosts financial education days for the wives of wealthy clients.
Two inspirational figures helped awaken Dauriac-Stoebe’s entrepreneurial spirit. The first, her father, is also an entrepreneur who set up many businesses. Dauriac-Stoebe still takes an active interest in helping run the family’s vineyards in France and South Africa. The second, John Caudwell – the self-made mobile phone billionaire – is a friend, and “an example of how you can make anything a success.”
Although Dauriac-Stoebe is passionate about people starting their own businesses, she is adamant that being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. “You will have to make a lot of sacrifices, and when you start you will have nothing”, she says. Although she now works out of plush offices in Mayfair, at the start things were tough. “You need to have a passion to make a difference in your industry”, she says. She went back to work four days after having a baby – “am I proud of this, no; but it had to be done.”
It’s easy to romanticise the life of an entrepreneur – especially is they happen to be French, young and manage their family’s vineyards in their spare time. But the reality is a never-ending slog, even if you are as lucky, and more importantly, as talented as Dauriac-Stoebe.
CV NATHALIE DAURIAC-STOEBE
Company: Signia Wealth
Number of staff: 38 – offices in London and Birmingham
Job title: Chief executive
Born: Saint Emilion, France
Lives: Hampstead Heath, London
Drinking: My father’s wine from our family’s vineyard in France
Motto: Never give up
Studied: Finance, Cambridge University
Awards: One of the 40 Rising Stars, European Wealth Management Bulletin (2008 and 2009). The Financial News 100 Rising Stars (2010). The Spear’s award for the Future Leader in the Wealth Management Industry (2010 & 2012).