TO THE glamorous surroundings of the Banqueting House on Whitehall last night for the annual Financial News asset management awards, where the most successful industry players of the year lined up to collect their respective gongs.
Taking the top spot in the European asset management firm of the year category, one of the most coveted awards of the evening, was (for the second year running) Brevan Howard. The firm also added a hedge fund manager of the year award to its haul for good measure, though the double whammy didn’t manage to lure founder Alan Howard to show his face for the event. Then again, it’s a bit of a trek to Westminster from Geneva, where he relocated for tax reasons earlier this year.
Also scoring double points last night was Jupiter’s diminutive but ebullient boss Edward Bonham Carter, who took both the chief executive of the year award and the gong for deal of the year, after successfully pulling off a flotation of his business on the London Stock Exchange earlier in the year.
No sooner had the awards finished than Bonham Carter was off over to a table on the other side of the room to congratulate one of the only other individuals to be recognised at the ceremony – Newton Investment Management’s chief executive Helena Morrissey, who was named the year’s most influential woman in asset management.
Morrissey is famed in the City both for her marked success at the helm of Newton and for managing to raise no less than nine children at the same time as holding down a demanding career.
Last night, having brought a tableful of female clients and colleagues along to celebrate her nomination “whatever the outcome”, Morrissey had a message of encouragement to other women in the profession.
“I’m living proof that it is possible to combine the two – and fund management is a great career for women,” she told The Capitalist.
“I’m also evangelical about encouraging other women, and I’d always tell them that if you want to achieve something and believe that you can, just go for it. As long as you still enjoy what you’re doing and you can put your hand on your heart and say you’re doing it for yourself, keep persevering.”
Among the other names collecting awards for their performance over the year were M&G, which won the UK asset management firm award; Partners Group, which was named the best fund of funds group of the year; Rockspring, the property manager of the year; Aberdeen Asset Management, which won the emerging markets manager of the year gong; and Mercer, which took the investment consultant of the year award. Mercer’s Boris Mikhailov was also honoured with the most promising rising star gong, though he’s clearly already too busy raking in cash for the firm to take time out to attend an evening of entertainment.
BlackRock took two separate awards for Nordic asset manager of the year and best ETF provider for its iShares business, as a consolation for boss Larry Fink losing his chief executive of the year crown to Jupiter’s Bonham Carter after holding it for the past three years.