Guernsey Press

Rocq Capital ‘achieving what we aimed for and flourishing’

The business of Rocq Capital – born from Edmond de Rothschild’s Group’s Channel Island businesses – is celebrating a quarter of a century, with a management buyout four years ago. Managing director Stuart Perfitt and fellow director John de Garis spoke to Amanda Eulenkamp

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Rocq Capital team. left to right: John De Garis, Jamie Gregson, Ruth McKenzie, Adam Cox, Stuart Perfitt, Harry Bazzaz. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 28597794)

Solid foundations

‘WE saw an opportunity to take the business local,’ says Stuart Perfitt, talking about the management buyout. Together with fellow directors John de Garis and Jamie Gregson, they took over the reins of the newly formed Rocq Capital on 1 July 2016.

‘The business was well-established under the Edmond de Rothschild name and had a core of clients who were extremely loyal. They’re still with us today. The business didn’t change, just the name over the door.

‘We’ve continued to build on those solid foundations operating from our office in Le Truchot, with our team of 10 that provide a blend of analytical minds, curiosity and experience.’

With a background of working in a business that was part of a large Swiss group, the trio felt that it was time to branch out on their own.

So how is it four years later?

‘We’re thoroughly enjoying it,’ they said. ‘We’ve achieved what we aimed to – and are flourishing as a local business with local owners and have proved that we could do it on our own. We’ve now reached that point where people believe in us and more and more are turning to us to manage their capital.’

The experienced, talented, and tight-knit team is bolstered by non-executive director Mark Thompson, who has had a distinguished career in accountancy of more than 30 years, culminating as chairman and senior partner of KPMG in the Channel Islands. Harry Bazzaz joined soon after the MBO and has added depth to the investment team.

‘Together, we’re focused on what we do,’ Stuart says, adding that by having a small, dynamic team locally they can make quick decisions.

Describing why they chose the name Rocq, he says, ‘it’s symbolic to us and originates from the west coast. It’s solid, familiar and enduring.’

That explains the subtle use of iconic west-coast images on the company’s promotional material and a reason behind their sponsorship of the swimming platform at Rocquaine.

Local business, international scope

Most of the company’s clients are local. ‘If your clients are here, then you can meet them in person,’ says John. ‘We’re a small island and it’s good to have that personal relationship.

‘Like every other company during lockdown, we’ve communicated via phone calls, email and video conferencing. Lots of businesses are eager to get the borders open as soon as possible, which I agree with, but from a personal point of view, it’s probably not got such a huge impact for us as our emphasis is local.’

Notwithstanding that, the company does deal with clients outside the island in the City of London and have a large network of clients and introducers that they deal with.

‘We’re dealing with private clients as well as institutions,’ they said. ‘We’re getting particularly good support from local businesses endorsing our services and introducing clients to us. We also get a significant amount of business through referrals from private clients.’

If you want to dip your toe into the investment market with Rocq, you can with a minimum investment of £5,000 into one of its funds. ‘The funds are open to anyone, particularly those saving money for life events, pensions or those dissatisfied at seeing negligible returns on their savings in the bank,’ says John.

‘Beyond that we can offer portfolios for clients with most risk appetites from cautious through to adventurous. We construct portfolios by combining exposure to equities, bonds, and other assets to meet a client’s return and risk expectations. We like to develop a close relationship with clients, and we review their needs regularly. All investment decisions are made by our Guernsey-based investment team which has been together for many years and has developed a strong investment track record over this time.’

Referring to the market performance during the worst of the Covid pandemic, John adds that ‘investments have bounced back very quickly after the initial shock. We see a big dispersion of returns across different markets and sectors and new trends emerging.’

Responsible investments

Stuart and John say that green finance and sustainable investments are trends that have accelerated rapidly by the whole experience of lockdown. ‘We’ve committed to something called the UN PRI (United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment). It commits us to introducing more sustainable investments to our clients in the coming years. We believe it’s a trend that will continue and we are keen to support this initiative.

Social investment

Giving something back to the community is important to the company. Both Stuart and investment manager Adam Cox have a connection to Guernsey Hockey, and support the sport through sponsorship.

The company has also supported Les Bourgs Hospice through 30 Bays in 30 Days for several years. Through Jamie’s participation, this year sees them partnering with Guernsey Padel Club for the inaugural championships being held over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Hidden Gardens of St Peter’s sadly fell victim to lockdown, but next year’s event is already being planned and is scheduled for 5-6 June 2021.

‘It’s important to invest in our community,’ says Stuart.

Looking ahead

‘We’re growing organically now, but we are always on the lookout for opportunities, whether that’s a business, a team or an individual,’ says Stuart.

‘Covid-19 for us has been a bump in the road rather than a roadblock. From a business operational point of view, we were well rehearsed for what we needed to do in the event of any external disruption. And our business continuity plan worked very smoothly. We continued to operate as per normal with no interruption to our service levels or timelines.

‘We’re back in the office now and meeting up with clients as usual. It is good to be back under one roof and we are ready to face the future together.’