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Capital Markets

Slow but steady wins the race

Baillie Gifford exemplifies the traditional image of the cautious but successful Scottish investment manager. But if it wants to leap up to the big league, the partnership might have to consider changes to its structure.

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IF WINNING MANDATES, while running a successful business with happy employees, were a race, independent asset manager Baillie Gifford would be a winner. Its slow but steady pace at growing the business has resulted in its being widely considered a highly successful asset management firm.

Baillie Gifford's CEO, Alex Callander (pictured right), will not disclose the firm's profit and loss account, but assets under management grew from £19 billion last year to £29 billion ($53 billion) as at the middle of last month.

The firm has also received the seal of approval of big mutual fund managers such as Vanguard. At the beginning of last year, it won a $1.9 billion global ex-US subadvisory mandate from Vanguard. "Baillie Gifford is one of the few firms in Europe able to attract subadvisory mandates from very big names," says Amin Rajan, CEO at research consultancy Create.

Aiming high

Baillie Gifford aims to attract more assets from outside the UK and to develop its global equities and fixed-income products. Nigel Morecroft, its head of UK institutional, says: "We're very careful in thinking about and managing growth."

Callander says the main area of growth outside the UK has been North America.

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