The Guinness brand in its current form was established in 2003 when founder and current chairman Tim Guinness left Investec to form GAM, and he and GAAM CEO Jim Atkinson acquired Investec’s U.S. fund business to form GAAM. GAM focuses primarily on Dublin-domiciled funds, whereas GAAM offers a similar fund lineup in the United States. Both boutiques are 100% employee-owned, but Tim Guinness holds the majority of GAM’s outstanding equity while dividing majority ownership of GAAM with Atkinson.
Despite strong manager retention and a consistent investment approach on its flagship offerings, Guinness lags its competition in some areas of fund-investor stewardship. In total, 19 investment professionals are responsible for more than 20 strategies. While some of the strategies share similar processes, the team has been stretched thin by recent fund launches: Three of the firm’s five exchange-traded funds were launched in 2021 under the SmartETF brand with niche mandates. Fees across the firm’s lineup could be lower, and managers’ compensation, which derives from fees and assets under management, does not explicitly tie fund performance to bonuses.