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Founded in 1908, Baillie Gifford's links to universities gave them access to top talent

Edinburgh

Baillie Gifford manages money on behalf of some of the world’s largest institutional investors, including 11 of the 20 biggest pension funds, with connections to clients in the US, Canada, Continental Europe, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Korea, the Middle East and South Africa.

Joint Senior Partner Andrew Telfer is one of the UK’s leading investment managers. He describes the firm:

“Sixty two per cent of our client base is overseas, so we’re very global in our reach and we invest globally. Edinburgh has a very strong reputation around the world in finance – particularly as an astute investment location – and that has helped us to win business and also attract people to come and work for us.”

“We’re primarily making investments both in stock markets and the bond markets (where government and corporate debt is traded for fixed returns) to help our clients achieve their financial goals,” 

“For example, helping pension funds pay their members’ pensions. We’re also helping to provide the corporate sector with capital to allow them to invest and grow their businesses.”

Investing For growth

Since it was founded by Colonel Baillie and Mr Gifford in 1908, the firm has grown steadily. Almost all of its 860 staff remain based in Edinburgh, with close links to their London and New York offices.

“Over the last ten years, our staff numbers have grown by six to seven per cent a year, all through organic growth,” Andrew explains. 

“Our plan is to continue to grow by winning new clients from various parts of the world. That’s what’s driving our growth, on the back of good investment performance. We’re about to open a new marketing office in Hong Kong, to help us develop our business in Asia.” says Andrew.

International workforce

Baillie Gifford’s staff work in a wide range of roles including investment management, client servicing, accounting, legal, compliance and information systems. The firm recruits from universities locally, as well as from Scotland's 19 Higher Education institutions, and internationally, representing more than 30 different nationalities.

“We want to be a world-class company so we have to attract and retain talent from across the world both at graduate and more senior levels,” Andrew says.

“The city has good travel connections as well and that’s important because our client base is global and we travel extensively across the world. In investment terms, we make long-term decisions, and we think being away from the hustle and bustle of London and New York has its advantages.”

“As a firm, it really helps that we’re based in Edinburgh, because it’s such a vibrant cultural city with a high quality of life.”

Andrew himself trained as a chartered accountant and has been with the firm for 23 years. “We tend to have very high staff retention, so it’s not untypical.”

Cultural support

Andrew is proud of the support that Baillie Gifford gives back to the capital by sponsoring institutions including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh International Science Festival, National Museums of Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland.

“I think it’s important to help keep the city a vibrant cultural hub that people want to come and visit, and to work in too. We find it relatively straight forward to recruit graduates to come here because of the appeal of the city – and to get them to stay once they’re here.”

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