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Into the 21st Century
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Towards the New Century
A series of recent developments underlines the firm's commitment to the future. It charted a very different course from many of its rivals during the turbulent 1980s; and now, after 200 years, it can claim an unbroken record of professional skill, commitment to the private investor, and independence from any conflict of interest.
It became clear that the partnership structure of such a large business was unsuitable in the face of the changes in the regulatory regime and the greatly increased capital requirements. Accordingly the partnership was dissolved in April 1988 and a new company, Charles Stanley & Co Limited, immediately took its place. In October of that year the process was taken a stage further, with the sale of the business to The Oceana Consolidated Company PLC, a small quoted investment company
which had been managed for many years in tandem with Charles Stanley & Co. By linking with a company under the same control, Charles Stanley was able to ensure its continuing independence of any major group, and its security for the future. David Howard now became Managing Director of the new parent company renamed as Charles Stanley Group PLC, as well as of Charles Stanley & Co. Limited
The firm continued to expand its range of products and services. Charles Stanley was, for example, a pioneer of Personal Equity Plans, and now manages one of the largest Individual Savings Account operations of any stockbroking company. In addition, Charles Stanley offers extensive services in personal financial and tax planning, in research and economic forecasting and in corporate finance.
The Growth Continues
Having spread, over 30 years, onto three floors and into two separate buildings at Finsbury Circus, the firm had once again outgrown its premises.
Charles Stanley & Co. Limited was the first stockbroker to move into Finsbury Circus, 30 years before. It had needed a lengthy debate by the Stock Exchange Council to decide if a firm could move so far from the trading floor. Then, Finsbury Circus had been on the City fringes.
Now, a generation later, dozens of firms had moved through and out again, and on the north side Charles Stanley was the last firm left. So finally, in April 1990, after much detailed planning, the firm moved to new and larger self-contained offices, in Luke Street, to the north of Broadgate. This move was rapidly followed by a major acquisition, the London half of the old established business of Schaverien & Co.
In 1995 the neighbouring building in Luke Street was purchased, and the premises were doubled in size. And, as further brokers joined, these too have soon been filled. Acquisitions have followed in rapid succession. In December 1997 the firm grew by more than half, with the purchase of the business of Shaw & Co Ltd, a friendly competitor for more than 70 years.
At the same time Sir Edward Howard, who had been Senior Partner and then Chairman of Charles Stanley for more than forty years - and sixty-one years since he first joined - decided to retire. A remarkable innings during which the company had changed beyond all recognition. He died in March 2001, at the age of 85. He was succeeded as Chairman by his son David. And following the family tradition Sir David Howard, who served as Sheriff of the City of London in 1997-98, went on to serve as Lord Mayor of London in 2000-01.
The New Millennium
The opening years of the 21st century have seen no let-up in the pace of development. As the business has grown, the London premises have expanded into additional offices all the way back down to Finsbury Square - a stone's throw from its previous offices for 30 years in Finsbury Circus. The firm now occupies five different buildings in this area and it continues to grow.
It has spread nationally, too: as far as Truro in the south-west, to Beverley in east Yorkshire, to Eastbourne in the south-east and up into Scotland, into the very heart of Edinburgh. The branch network has proved remarkably successful in delivering the same high standards of Charles Stanley to discriminating clients up and down the United Kingdom.
The stockbroking industry has continued its process of consolidation, with other firms and individuals and teams of brokers beating a path to our door. And at the same time range of service to our clients has expanded. In 2003 Charles Stanley moved into the provision of SIPPs - self-invested personal pensions.
This was followed in 2007 with the purchase of Garrison investment Analysis Ltd, a direct funds marketing business, and Liverpool-based Griffiths and Armour (Financial Services) Ltd. In 2008. This provides employee benefit services for major corporate clients. At the same time Charles Stanley has been developing a more comprehensive offering of overall wealth management service for its clients, moving beyond its core stockbroking role. This was underlined by the acquisition of Birmingham-based Jobson James Financial Services in 2011. The financial services industry has been re-shaping itself dramatically, with clients demanding not only the high degree of expertise and specialisation which is Charles Stanley's traditional service, but also a broader spread of related services. And the firm has moved to meet this demand.
Thus Charles Stanley's position as the first stockbroking firm to own its own website has translated into the ground-breaking Charles Stanley Direct service, launched in 2013. The firm's financial planning capability has continued to expand nationally; and the group has grown into a significant provider of SIPPs.
Tradition remains at the heart of the culture of Charles Stanley.
An adherence to the principles and values on which, for 200 years, our clients have relied. But Charles Stanley is known also for its position at the cutting edge of modern technology. The firm has amply demonstrated its dedication to bringing to its clients the benefits of computerisation. Its extensive software developments, for example, have been widely copied by other broking firms, in some cases by firms that Charles Stanley has gone on to acquire.
In the twenty years since celebrating the 200th anniversary of the founding of the original banking business, back in January 1792, Charles Stanley has seen its personnel numbers multiply
four-fold and its revenue by more than ten times. The list of acquisitions and new branches continues to grow.
Superficially it is hard to see the connection between the five worthy members of The Monthly Club, the founders of the bank, and the electronic wizardry of a modern stockbroking company. But these are only the outward appearances. At the heart of the business are the self-same principles so jealously guarded two centuries ago - prudence, professional skill and probity.
And now, more than two centuries later, Charles Stanley continues to uphold the description of its founder -"Well-known and much respected"