Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Booming investment firm moves into shop next door

HENLEY investment firm Courtiers has taken over the premises of a former menswear shop.

HENLEY investment firm Courtiers has taken over the premises of a former menswear shop.

Last Man Standing in Hart Street closed in July four years after being opened by Paul Foxley.

Courtiers, whose Grade II listed head office is next door, says it needs the extra space because it is expanding. The new annex can accommodate up to 17 staff on top of the 40 employees who work in the main building.

Courtiers was founded in Henley in 1982 and moved to Hart Street four years later. It has two satellite offices in Derby and Somerset.

Chief executive Jamie Shepperd said the company began to grow in 2004 when it started specialising in wealth management for high net worth clients.

It now manages more than £360million of assets with portfolios averaging about £365,000 in size.

Mr Shepperd said: “We’ve just run out of space — we couldn’t fit enough desks in the existing building to support the number of staff we needed.The firm is now growing very rapidly and we are employing more and more people in Henley.

“The new building takes up some of the overflow from our old office, although we are rapidly running out of space again.

“We will need to expand further at some point but we are keen to stay in Henley and support the community and local businesses.

“Our clients are high net worth individuals so when they visit us, they spend money enjoying everything Henley has to offer.” The company is in talks with James Mackie, who owns the former White Lotus sports bar behind the shop. The bar shut in 2009 amid complaints about drug taking and underage alcohol sales.

The premises has 2,500 sq ft of space, enough room for 30 employees but a change of use would require planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council.

Mr Mackie has been given permission to remove the club’s fixtures and fittings so an assessment of the building’s historical significance can be made. Mr Shepperd said: “We will need more space as we don’t have anywhere near the capacity we require over the next five years.

“We need that development to be approved so we can stay in that one group of buildings, which Mr Mackie is facing challenges with.”

In 2011, Courtiers objected after a bus shelter was built outside its office and lobbied unsuccessfully for it to be moved.

It said the structure spoilt views of the building and intruded on its employees’ privacy when queues built up at the bus stop.

Mr Shepperd said the glass of the new annexe had been frosted over to prevent this from happening.

In 2011, the company was named one of Britain’s top 1,000 mid-sized businesses by the Daily Telegraph. Turnover has grown from just below £1million in 2004 to £6.2million this year.

lWomen’s fashion chain Noa Noa has closed its branch in Duke Street, Henley, temporarily. A spokeswoman for the chain, which is run as a franchise, said the owner had stepped down but declined to say why. She said a new owner was about to be confirmed and it was hoped the shop would re-open next week.

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