Robert Stephens is a retired financial services professional with a background in international fund management. He began his career with Murray Johnstone (1973-83) and worked from 1998 for Perpetual and then Perpetual/Invesco Perpetual, latterly as Global Investment Specialist, until his retirement in 2014. He lives in Edinburgh.
Andrea Leadsom has made much of her “25 years in Financial services” before the she became an MP. She is being widely described as “a banker”. Last week Bernard Jenkin MP endorsed her, citing her senior position at “a large investment firm where she was responsible for managing hundreds of people and billions of pounds”. In her interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday, she claimed during those 25 years to have “run enormous teams, small teams, start-up businesses”.
The problem about these claims is that they risk misleading people into believing that she has finance management skills and experience which qualify her for senior posts in government.
She has documented 16 years, 1993 -2009. I can find no trace of her employment before 1993. Her job at Barclays/BZW 1993-1997 was a largely administrative one, “Financial Institutions Director” meaning the maintenance of contractual relationships with other banks.
Her job as Managing Director of De Putron Fund Management,1997-1999 seems to have involved setting up the onshore shell of her brother-in-law’s offshore investment company.
But her job at Perpetual/Invesco Perpetual, 1999-2009, is particularly worthy of closer inspection. I was a fellow employee throughout her time there. Last week, at my prompting, she corrected her CV with Wikipedia and Who’sWho, changing her title from the obviously incorrect Chief Investment Officer to the titles of Senior Investment Officer and Head of Corporate Governance.
Her actual job was to work (sometimes part-time) on “special projects”, mostly for the Chief Investment Officer. These included for example negotiating pay terms for senior fund managers. Towards the end of her time, she advised on a couple of governance issues.
As I understand it she had no-one reporting to her in either role, so the words Senior and Head are, one might say, superfluous.
When she expresses views on market and currency movements, as she did last week (notably seeming not to understand that the FTSE100 is denominated in Sterling, so that even today a Dollar investor in that index is looking at a loss of more than 10% since June 23rd), she is not speaking with the authority of experience.
At Perpetual/Invesco Perpetual she did not manage any teams, large or small, and she certainly did not manage any funds.
Update 6/7/15: Leadsom latest: CV Published