"I had the pleasure of working with Matthew, while I was at Close Brothers Asset Management. Matthew joined the investment specialist team and helped our team with presenting on multi-asset class propositions. One particular area Matthew was strong on was in explaining to clients the rationale behind combining different asset classes together into financial solutions. One particular area I would recommend him on, was his understanding of risk and return and in particular stochastic modelling, given he helped the business install that methodology into CBAM’s investment management outcomes, due to bringing with him his experiences from HSBC RBWM. This allowed our business to link the giving of financial advice to the delivery of wealth management to clients and institutions. In addition, I know his help on the product governance committee was invaluable given his understanding around the regulator’s desire for firms to monitor and justify good customer outcomes."
Chris Ighodaro – Investment Specialist at Schroders Personal Wealth
Investment Oversight Committee
"Soon after I become the Independent Chair of FundRock Partners’ (FRP) Investment Oversight Committee (IOC), Matthew joined as Head of the Investment Management Oversight team and by defacto joined the IOC.
Following the FCA’s Asset Management Market Study there was a desire by FP to improve its governance framework, which Matthew positively contributed to. I enjoyed working with Matthew and his robust challenges to some of our delegated asset managers, in terms of improving the overall governance framework and to keep the committee focused on “investor protection” and as an Authorised Corporate Director the focus needed to be reducing any conduct risks in terms of FRP’s funds complying with the regulations and a reduction in investment risks.
I would recommend Matthew due to his excellence understating of the industry and ability to combine that with his investment management experience, thereby helping the committee meet the FCA’s expectations.
For me, coming into a new role, I was grateful for Matthew’s active participation on my committee and socialising new ideas from his previous experiences of investment oversight in terms of what the FCA required from firms fulfilling the mandate of funds oversight. We started with one set of ToR, but with Matthew’s help we changed it to reflect more on what the FCA wanted to see, such as robust challenge and oversight of delegated asset managers. Form his compliance understanding, as he had previously worked through a FCA Section 166, he redesigned the structure of the committee so it focused more on the right management information in terms of appropriate Key Performance and Key Risk indicators, in particular, I was impressed with his RAG dashboard showing performance and investment risks, to highlight any funds where further investigation was needed."
Independent Chair of FundRock Partners Investment Oversight Committee
Front Office Controls and Identification of Risks or Investment Management Oversight
"I had the pleasure in recruiting Matthew in 2017 as Head of Investment Management Oversight. Since then I have been very impressed with Matthew’s understanding of investment management, given his past experience of managing multi-asset class propositions. That knowledge allowed him to create an investment monitoring and oversight framework for our business, as an Authorised Corporate Director. I was impressed with Matthew’s understanding of the FCA’s asset management market study and ability to work with his team to implement a new framework that incorporated a number of FCA recommendations. Matthew showed that he worked well with our internal teams, such as compliance, risk and our delegated asset managers to supply management information.
From an internal point of view, I was impressed on how he would write a paper to socialise an idea for change, which would then lead to either a new policy or procedure to enhance the governance of FundRock Partners. From these “educational” papers Matthew was then able to discuss them with asset managers, such as Research Payment Accounts and Product Governance requirements to advise them on what they needed to do in terms of their business oversight and policies so as to launch new compliant financial products (UCITS, NURS and QIS).
From Matthew’s understanding of conduct risks, within asset managers and financial products, I would recommend him to work on or advise on product governance. He helped to develop and introduce a product governance process for FundRock Partners, along with committee set up and terms of reference.
Matthew consistently showed an understanding of how to apply to the FCA’s principled based approach to regulations as opposed to “tick-box” solutions. Many new procedures were introduced around Liquidity management, Counterparty Risk, Complex V Non-Complex Products and Hard to Value Assets, such as derivatives. This greatly helped when Matthew had to discuss with the FCA our monitoring procedures following the LF Woodford fund suspension.
While at FundRock Partners Matthew was someone who clearly understood the direction of travel for the UK’s regulatory environment and could therefore discuss this with our delegated asset managers, to help them have the appropriate systems and controls in place. In particular he worked well with new clients to the market, e.g. helping them to write their policies and procedures, but also to educate when a European private bank wanted to launch its UCITS funds in the UK.
Finally, I would like to recommend Matthew’s communication skills when dealing with depositaries and the FCA, from dealing with queries or meetings. Matthew showed his professionalism and worked with our asset managers to clearly answer and solve the regulator’s questions and any changes it wanted to see, such as alignment with prospectus’ and factsheets or a better understanding of a fund’s risk management process. That is where Matthew excelled, he clearly understood the FCA’s standpoint and could work with our asset managers and internal compliance team to successful resolutions. "
Marc Wood Head of ACD at Heartwood Investment Management
Fund and Board Governance
While working with Matthew I found his grasp of the UK regulatory environment very refreshing, which helped the business implement regulatory changes in line with MiFID II, the Asset Management Market Study and in particular for our company being an Authorised Corporate Director. I was impressed with how Matthew built up good relationships with our depositaries and worked well with the business to solve a number of key monitoring action points. I know his past background in asset management helped our business and this team change its monitoring approach around investment and liquidity risk monitoring and hence move into pre-empting as opposed to waiting for something to happen.
I would commend Matthew for his handling of working with the FCA, who were very keen to understand why certain funds were not performing. Given Matthew’s fund management background he was able to explain the funds multi-asset class attributes and what the funds were trying to achieve as per their mandates, as opposed to chasing performance and increase risks. He worked well with our delegated asset managers on various FCA queries and in particular being the middle man between the FCA and investment managers around aligning benchmarks, prospecti and factsheets.
The UK regulatory environment is very much about principle based regulation and being able to prove that firms’ have the appropriate systems and controls in place, so I was impressed with Matthew’s understanding and ability to install MI based around what the FCA wanted to see from oversight firms and fund boards be able to prove in terms of what systems and controls they had over their funds and delegated asset managers. From Matthew’s design and presentation of MI to our Investment Oversight Committee and Product Governance Committee, we were able to prove that we had the right management information in place to prove that
Matthew’s understanding of product governance became invaluable when as a business we were working on a key a piece of MiFID II work, which was to understand and document the rational as to which products were complex and which were not. In addition, Matthew worked well with on boarding new clients in terms of helping them understand and adapt their procedures and management to fit in with the UK regulatory environment.
Steve Mapes – Head of Compliance
I have enjoyed working with Matthew, while he was head of Investment Management Oversight at FundRock Partners. Matthew has an excellent understanding of the rules and requirements of Product Governance and how to combine information on products with that of investment performance and risk, in a management information dashboard. This allowed the product governance committee to focus on the product, the outcomes and also compliance data such as complaints and breaches to arrive at whether the product was fit to continue to be sold or if there were any conduct risks that needed further attention. Of note is FCA’s number 8 of its list of high-level conduct risks: Compliants – the risk of not appropriately, or in a timely manner identify, resolve and learn from customer complaints, leading to customer detriment (see appendix for a full list of conduct risks)
What has been very helpful to me in my role as head of product governance, is his past product governance experience from other asset managers and setting up a product governance committee. That helped in making sure my committee had an appropriate Terms of Reference and guidelines to follow.
From his past knowledge in the industry, product understanding and in particular the FCA’s requirements on what they expect firms (and committees) to do in relation to the product life cycle and product review process, we have been able to apply compliant product governance review process. I know Matthew has used this knowledge with helping our delegated asset managers to understand the Product Governance requirements and helped our firm by putting these requirements into our Service Level Agreements with our clients, so both parties are clear on their responsibilities.
How Matthew has helped, as a senior person, on the product governance committee is to make sure that our committee understood, what our requirements were, what we should be looking at in terms of potential conduct risks in products and what kind of interventions could be needed. I would therefore like to thank Matthew for his contribution over the past two years and would recommend his services in the area of product governance.
Head of Global Sales and Chairman of the Product Governance Committee at FundRock Partners