James Ashton: No looking back for future prosperity

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The Independent Online

Brewin Dolphin tried to capture something of the 18th century on Tuesday with a dinner to mark its 250th anniversary. Think gull's eggs, pickled walnuts and sloe gin.

It was a worthy celebration, but it is hard to disguise that these are trying times for investment companies. The retail distribution review means they have to think hard about where to spend money to win customers.

Brewin, brimming with history after acquiring great regional brokerages such as Bell Lawrie and Wise Speke, should still prosper. Its average client has £300,000 invested. And as Jamie Matheson, Brewin's chairman, said, it hasn't lasted so long by being backward-looking.