Goodbody stockbrokers has poached four senior staff from the asset management arm of its biggest rival Davy, including James Forbes, its highly regarded director of distribution and investment solutions.
The four will form the nucleus of a new retail asset management division at Goodbody, which should see it go toe to toe with Davy Asset Management in pitching for business to manage chunks of assets for big investors such as insurers and pension funds.
In addition to Mr Forbes, Goodbody has also plucked Damien Meade, a global fund manager who is described as lead manager of Davy's Global Brands fund and co-manager of its Discovery mid-cap fund. He was previously with AIB Investment Managers and only joined Davy 18 months ago.
It has also hired fund manager Paul O'Brien, who Davy's website says is responsible for "running the Discovery fund". Alan Wyley, a sales manager with Davy Asset Management, is also moving to Goodbody.
The four, who have varying gardening-leave commitments, will all join Goodbody over the coming months. It is expected that the team could be fully in place by the end of the summer, when Goodbody will start pitching for business.
Roy Barrett, the managing director of Goodbody, emailed staff on Wednesday to announce the recruitment of Mr Forbes, Mr O'Brien and Mr Wyley. Mr Meade informed Davy of his departure for Goodbody yesterday.
“I am pleased to announce that Goodbody will be setting up a retail asset management business within Wealth Management following the recruitment of three senior members of the Davy Asset Management team,” Mr Barrett wrote.
“I expect that we will also build on this initial team with further recruitment in due course. As you know from my recent quarterly update, we are looking to improve Goodbody’s fee-based capability.
“This move will . . . give us an excellent opportunity to partner with new distributors, which could be a significant source of new FUM [funds under management].”
Jon Ihle, the head of communications at Goodbody, said the move was part of a strategy to "bulk up" its wealth-management arm, the largest of its three operating divisions, accounting for close to half its near 300 staff.
“We will build our retail asset management business organically. These guys have a good track record. It is all part of a long-term strategy for the business,” he said.
Davy declined to comment on the decision of its staff to exit, but it is understood the departing staff are highly regarded within the firm.
Davy's asset management arm has made several senior hires of its own in recent times, such as Chantal Brennan, its chief investment officer, and Paul Giblin, the chief executive of the unit.
It is also understood that Davy Asset Management, which has assets under management of €4.5 billion, will soon announce several other senior hires, including for a high-ranking pan-European sales role.
Major stockbroking houses such as Davy have been scrambling to add senior names to help steer their wealth management divisions in recent times. Andrew Fisher, a former chief executive of Coutts, last December joined the advisory board of Davy Private Clients, as it targets more business in Northern Ireland and Britain.
This followed the appointment to the board earlier in 2014 of Henry Algeo, a former top executive of Brewin Dolphin.