Mr USM's brown shoes buck the trend and step into the gilts trade

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The Independent Online
THE MAN they used to call 'Mr USM' opens for business in the gilts market today.

Brian Winterflood, who made his name dealing in smaller quoted companies, is launching Winterflood Gilts, a new division of Winterflood Securities. The firm will focus on smaller, private-client deals up to pounds 1m, with no minimum size of trade.

'We're a niche player,' Mr Winterflood said. 'We will be dealing with smaller trades which the big boys don't really want to touch.'

The move may be against the trend - several players have pulled out in recent years - but Mr Winterflood is something of a trend-bucker. This is a man who wore brown shoes on his first day at work on the Stock Exchange and who throws an annual party called 'Old and Bold'.

A youthful 57-year-old who favours a Hermes tie, he stresses that he has the support of Close Brothers, the merchant bank that bought Winterflood Securities from Union Discount for pounds 19m last March. But the expansion into gilts represents a significant departure for the market-maker, which previously specialised only in equities.

Mr Winterflood, who will be chairman of the new subsidiary, said he had been pondering the move for a year, with the intention of balancing his product portfolio.

'In the old days jobbers tended to merge equities with gilts. It is better to balance one with the other. One tends to do well when the other is not.'

The new subsidiary sees staff numbers at the firm rise from 40 to 50. Barry Pearl, previously head of the small gilts desk at UBS, and Adrian Ireland, formerly a director of SG Warburg Securities, join as directors.