Edward Allanby has made a successful business helping high net-worth individuals and business owners execute smart private market investment decisions. As President and Chief Executive Officer of Bermuda-based Leman Management Limited, Edward has a highly personalised approach towards his clients, including travelling to meet each of them once a quarter wherever they might be in the world. It’s this personalised approach that has underpinned his career and taken him from London to Germany to Switzerland, and then on to Bermuda.
Becoming a chartered accountant
The idea of going into accountancy and business came to Edward early in life. It was a friend’s parent, who was the chairman of the board of a large and successful company, who first sparked Edward’s interest in his chosen career. “He informed me that the most valuable member of the board that he sat on was a finance director and that if I wanted to be successful in business then I should become a chartered accountant,” Edward recalls.
It’s advice that has served Edward well throughout his career as he developed his initial accountancy role into that of a highly personalised financial steward providing his clients with corporate and financial solutions for their personal assets, investments, and business ventures.
“With a business, you need to look at all parts of the equation,” Edward explained. “You can have all the sales you like, but that doesn’t necessarily make the business a successful one. You have to have the people, the infrastructure, and the cash flow. If you don’t have all of those elements it’s not going to be a sustainable business.”
“I’ve seen both sides of the picture and I’m also aware of the other aspects of my profession that are important – the soft skills, as well as the ability to see the big picture. Does solving the problem here create another problem elsewhere? No solution is an isolated one, and this is the approach that I bring to my clients when helping them to invest in private markets.”
The road to Bermuda
Edward trained and qualified as a chartered accountant in London. After working in London for a few years, his employer offered him the opportunity to move to Germany as they needed someone on location to help their clients there.“I was representing the head office in securing the information that was required to give their German-based clients the tools that they needed to make the right decisions. I was also re-educating the staff in the German office about the internal audit function and how it could be done in half the time.”
“I was then asked by another London firm to move to their German office where I was tasked with addressing the ageing management information system. It wasn’t producing the right information for head office so I had to work out what system we should use moving forward. That was an exercise in truly understanding people’s needs.”
Edward admits that he enjoyed the challenges that came with living in Germany, including navigating the cultural differences and learning how to thrive in an unfamiliar environment. “I think that’s what enabled me to further my career. Because I was flexible and appreciated that there were differing points of view, I was able to embrace those different viewpoints and still succeed in reaching a consensus.”
After the success of his stint in Germany, and upon his return to London, Edward was quickly assigned to a job in Switzerland where he was asked to perform a review and provide a recommendation for a trade and client management system.
When he returned to London, Edward was headhunted to work as a chief financial officer by an ambitious business on the M&A trail that needed an expert to pull their different acquisitions together and to develop the company’s infrastructure. At the same time, Edward was tasked with preparing one of the businesses for sale through an investment bank. “I had to instil confidence on both sides, ensuring that we could provide the required information and answer any questions, all under a strict time constraint.”
While the process was an intense one which involved many sleepless nights, the business was successfully sold for a handsome sum. The owners were so pleased with the results that one of them asked Edward if he would consider administering their family assets. Edward put together a presentation, which led to the owner deciding on Bermuda for the location of their family office.
The path to launching Leman Management Limited
Edward was then tasked with heading up operations on the ground in Bermuda and with building the infrastructure there. Little did he know that this venture would lead to his own successful business. “I decided that this was another new and exciting challenge and said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it’. That’s how Leman Management Limited started.” Edward now undertakes similar private market investment strategies for other high-net-worth individuals. “More than 85% of people who invest their money, invest it with an investment manager. They are not involved in what the actual investment is going to be, they just know and agree to their risk limits.”
“These entrepreneurs see investments in the very early stages. They know that they want to take the risk but once they’ve made the decision to invest in a company, their only interest is in finding the next deal. They are not interested in ensuring that they have all of the right documentation or in sorting out the other administrative aspects of the deal. That’s where I come in.”
Edward quickly saw that there was a niche where his firm could provide the necessary infrastructure and ultimately provide the investors with more control over their private market investment portfolio. “We’ve developed a streamlined and flexible approach to private market investing which, as the investor’s highly experienced deal representative, we are able to deliver on a very short turnaround. This means that we can go to a private market investment target, secure all of the required information, and then go back to the client and say, ‘This is what we’ve established, is everything to your satisfaction?’.”
For Edward, this approach gives the client the enhanced control that they desire. Edward’s process essentially takes away all of the complexities of the structure, such as the tax or compliance issues that the investor doesn’t want or need to worry about. “We take care of all of that.”
“I help clients – primarily based in the US or Europe – with the implementation and execution of their private market investments. It’s a streamlined investment process, which both enhances and ensures their ability to execute.” Edward is proud of the long-term relationships that he has built with his clients and believes that the key ingredient in those relationships is trust. “This is particularly true as we have power of attorney over their bank accounts in order to be efficient and nimble. We know exactly what the cash flow forecast is.”
Edward has been in Bermuda for over 20 years now and is a strong advocate for the country. “If you are looking for an offshore jurisdiction, Bermuda is one of the most credible. The island has a very well-respected regulator.”
Unique problem solving
Edward is confident that his bespoke solution to private market investing can’t be copied – it is unique to his business and to his clients. “We have a non-standard process, so an investor is not going to find the same solution elsewhere. For instance, many banks are de-risking and don’t want to take on issues that could potentially be problematic. We are fortunate in that our clients not only know that they can come to us with a problem that no one else is either able or willing to solve, but that we can and will solve it.”
“We offer solutions using our distinctive toolbox comprised of our unique experience and expertise, which means that we have the necessary knowledge to determine what the best solution is for a particular problem. For instance, we might decide that it may not be in our client’s best interest to set up a company in Bermuda because, for a particular set of circumstances, there may be more benefit in setting it up elsewhere. We are open-minded, as opposed to saying, ‘We only do it like this.’ ”Edward sees IR Global as an ideal forum for his business’s growth.
“If anyone has a problem with private market investing, we are there for them to ask us, ‘What would you do in this situation?’ And we can answer that question.” The networking opportunities that IR Global brings to the table are invaluable. “Members and their clients suddenly realise that there is an IR Global professional who works in a different jurisdiction from them and who can, therefore, bring a new perspective to problem-solving.”
Looking to the future, Edward is content with his life and business in Bermuda and has no plans to slow down – or return to England. “While I enjoy visiting London often, I don’t see myself moving back there. I’ve had the opportunity to live and work abroad, so why not keep enjoying that opportunity. I find this to be a wonderful journey. I have built successful and rewarding long-term relationships with my clients, many of who have been with me for more than 20 years. I don’t know what the next 10 to 15 years will bring, but as long as I still have value to add, I will gladly provide it.”