Another approximately 19 or 20 people have also been hired, and the company is continuing to recruit, both for that office and for another it is opening in Panama.
The Dubai operation is being set up as a separate trading entity of the European company, but will do business under the Fund Advisers name, according to David Cooper, one of the directors.
It has acquired an existing advisory licence in Dubai, and is currently awaiting regulatory approval, Cooper said. The company has leased offices in the Ubora Towers complex of Dubai’s Business Bay district.
It is understood that Lodge has been with the firm for several weeks, and since then has been active in the recruitment and training process.
Also hired, as general manager of the new Dubai office, is Danielle Suchley, another ex-deVere employee. Suchley had been deVere’s Dubai-based area manager of client services.
Lodge is well known in the offshore advisory industry. He resigned as head of deVere’s Middle East operation last February, for what were described at the time as unspecified health problems.
Both Cooper and Paul Evans, the firm's other director, stressed that Fund Advisers was not recruiting a disproportionate number of former employees of deVere, which claims to be the world's largest international advisory company, and which has a particularly large presence in Dubai.
Of the roughly twenty people who have thus far been hired for the Dubai office, Cooper said, “only three or four” had been with deVere.
Evans added: “If people approach us, then of course we are going to talk to them. But what we don’t want to do is get into a big ole’ bun-fight with any other companies.”
‘Looking to go big’
Evans said he and Cooper have ambitious expansion plans for Fund Advisers that involve starting in the Gulf, and ultimately would see the business expanding into such other regional markets as South America, Africa and Russia.
He acknowledged that like a number of other expatriate-focussed advisory firms, Fund Advisers is keen to take advantage of the shrinkage of the UK’s financial advisory industry being brought about by the stringent Retail Distribution Review regulations, which took effect in January, and which is widely believed to be inspiring many highly-qualified British advisers to consider taking their expertise abroad.
“We are not looking to become a two-adviser, five-adviser type of operation – we are looking to go big,” he said.
“And we are reasonably confident that within a short space of time, we will catch up and overtake some of our bigger competitors.”
...and Cairo makes five
In a separate development, Fund Advisers has added an office in Cairo, by taking on an Egyptian adviser there, who had been working for an undisclosed firm which is understood to have decided to pull out of the market due to the ongoing political instability there.
This brings Fund Adviser’s total number of offices, including Dubai, to five: In addition to Luxembourg, it also has a presence in Brussels and Geneva.
Fund Advisers was originally founded in 2003, not as a financial advisory firm, but to advise people on how to establish an investment fund. That changed around 2007, after Cooper came on board, and was later joined by Evans, and its original partners were bought out and left the business.
One of the company’s main selling points is that it operates its own client portfolio management service, out of its Geneva office, where it looks after the savings of around 90% of its clients, according to Evans.