Meet the new man at the helm of Canaccord in Jersey

Charles Cohen, head of wealth management at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management International in Jersey Picture: SUPPLIED BY CANACCORD

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Charles Cohen is head of wealth management at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management International in Jersey. After five years in the British Army, he turned his expertise to the wealth management industry, where he has been working for more than 20 years – the last eight with Canaccord. A newcomer to Island life, he took up his latest role in Jersey in October 2023

CHARLES Cohen has had a varied career leading to his move to Jersey which will help him face any challenges ahead.

His post-army life saw him working as an institutional stockbroker for 15 years, which included spells in Geneva and Singapore.

For the past 20 years, Charles has worked in the wealth management sector, recently taking responsibility for most of Canaccord’s offices outside London – roles which meant a great deal of his time was spent travelling. He says that one of the great benefits of Jersey is not having to spend hours each week in his car.

Maintaining Canaccord’s position as one of the top wealth management firms in Jersey is an ongoing priority, although Charles says that is part of the appeal of leading the team here. “The only constant in this industry is change, and you wouldn’t still be doing this job at my age if it was boring and dull,” he said. “It’s important to remember you don’t always have all the answers. We have some very experienced investment managers and stockbrokers in the Jersey office, and I see it as a team approach, learning from those who may have more experience in certain areas than you.”

Reminding people about your values seems to be a key way to overcome growing recruitment problems in the islands, where the high cost of living deters many from putting down permanent roots.

“Asset management companies are only as good as the people they employ, and recruitment and retention challenges are not unique to the islands,” he reflected. “I think if you can offer people a good career and prospects for development and promotion, it becomes a highly attractive proposition. People don’t produce their best unless their objectives are aligned with those of the business, and we work hard to make sure that’s the case.”

By way of example, Charles cites the sense of community synonymous with the Channel Islands. The high levels of awareness of the Canaccord brand have helped support The Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management International Charitable Trust to raise more than £450,000 for Channel Island charities and individuals since it began.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the charitable trust and plans are in hand to make the most of the milestone.

Being a recognised brand has its positives but it is important, Charles stresses, to remain relevant.

“It’s great that you don’t have to explain who you are or what you do but, as the company grows and develops, we have to remind people we evolved into a different company from ten years ago,” Charles says.

One of the variables facing not just the wealth management sector but all workplaces is the advance of artificial intelligence. While Charles accepts that AI can help in some areas of the business, he says that building and maintaining long-term personal relationships with clients is critical to the company’s success.

“These skills are learnt through osmosis – learning what does and doesn’t work from the people around you,” he added. “While we remain sympathetic and flexible to staff’s personal needs, working from the office rather than from home is the best way to learn these vital skills.”

Charles is impressed with the health of Jersey’s wealth management sector. The raft of regulatory checks carried out as part of the Moneyval inquiry, which draws to a close soon with the full findings due to be published this July, has left Charles confident that, subject to a positive report, the Island’s wealth management sector could receive a huge boost.

In the meantime, he is keen to continue growing the success of Canaccord in Jersey and to make sure his team enjoy the amazing island in which they live and work.

Charles thinks one of the many benefits of working for a global business is being able to offer employees the chance to work in other offices around the UK and further afield. He believes that will allow staff to look at things differently and bring back an even greater wealth of experience to benefit Canaccord in Jersey.

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