All options are on the table, including exiting the international business, according to Brooks Madonald CEO Andrew Shepherd in comments following the announcement of a strategic review of its three crown dependency offices as part of its half year results earlier today (7 March).

Speaking to Investment International, Shepherd said: "The international business over a period of time now hasn't seen the profitability and growth that we've been hoping for and it hasn't matched the profitability and growth improvements that we've seen in in the UK business. Essentially, that's the story.

"We've got great people. We've got great culture there and the strategy is right but it's not working. So we need to review why that is. That's what we'll be doing over the coming months."

On the specifics of each of the crown dependency offices, he said: "We came into the Channel Islands in 2012. We've only been in the Isle of Man for a couple of years, and we are at a different point in the journey there, but we've got really good relations with trustees and IFAs on the island, less so direct clients, but there's a bit of work there as well.

"Strategically there's more of a bent towards intermediary distribution on that island, but it's going pretty well, just not as fast as we want it to."

Late last month, Brooks Macdonald appointed Mark O’Connor as managing director for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. He had been head of international investment management at the firm and as part of the change at the top Richard Hughes stepped down as international CEO (now in a senior role at JTC).

This fitted with Brooks Macdonald's move to focus on its two distribution channels, direct to private clients and via financial advisers, rather than around geographies.

Shepherd said: "We wanted to bring in somebody who has got real expertise around dealing with private clients and with IFAs around the various jurisdictions that we work in. Richard had done a fantastic job for us and there was an opportunity for him at JTC which was great."

He added: "Mark O'Connor is a dyed in the wool by the client outcome focused individual and he's a fantastic guide and mentor lead for that business."

As to whether the review might lead to Brooks Macdonald exiting the international space possibly as part of the review, Shepherd said: "It's a strategic review. We'll look at all the options. We are not ruling out anything at this stage."

So it is clearly a concerning time for the crown dependency office staff at the moment?

"You're right. It creates uncertainty. So what we can't do is drag this out. We need to be be quick and go through the review properly, but as quickly as we can. We have a great bunch of people with a great culture."

So with that in mind, what sort of timescale for the review to conclude are we talking about here?

"Six months down the line we certainly want it to be completed. We will be pushing to get this review completed as quickly as we can."

Finally what was the particular trigger for this review of the international business?"

"To be truly successful. You've got to see organic flows. And we haven't seen them. we've had sporadic quarters where it's been good, but we haven't seen stable positive net inflows in a little while now. So that's the real trigger", Shepherd said.