Founder, Global Asset Portfolio
Living by the mantra to either find a way or make one, Lee Smith has created a bespoke investment consultancy with a conscience.
With a background of real estate investment experience, spanning from the UK to Spain and the Middle East, Lee, together with his business partner Steve Wright, has raised admirable levels of capital through meticulous due diligence and astute application of technology.
Under their consultancy firm Global Asset Portfolio, the disruptive thinkers are diversifying into a suite of products including GAP Capital Markets, which identifies opportunities to invest and trade in foreign exchange.
Here Lee shares his aspirations to leave a positive legacy through responsible investments.
Global Asset Portfolio has thrived on identifying investment opportunities. How do you determine those opportunities?
It's all down to listening to what the market wants, but also, a little bit of gut feeling about the future. We work closely with institutions that invest with us; for example, private family offices in the Middle East are now very focused on investments that will have a positive impact, things like renewable energies.
We want to develop the business to work on projects that fulfil the soul as well as the balance sheet. We've signed agreements with a huge four million square metre, solar energy project in the Americas and also a number of waste-to-energy projects in the UK. We want to focus on that legacy for future generations, personally as well as corporately, and play our part in providing impactful investments that make a difference to the world.
The relationships that you have with your stakeholders are integral to the business, how do you manage those partnerships?
That's changed a lot over the last few months, as you can imagine. We do a lot of business in the Middle East and the Far East, having locations in Singapore and Jakarta. Usually, we spend one or two weeks a month out in these locations meeting with investors and partners, spending time updating them and managing those relationships. Zoom is helping at the moment but there’s nothing like face-to-face meetings.
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"Gap Capital Markets and forex trading is really interesting because that offering performs particularly well within volatile markets."
What is the impact that you’re seeing from the unprecedented events of this year?
Gap Capital Markets and forex trading is really interesting actually because that offering performs particularly well within volatile markets. The algorithms we use have stop-losses in place so should a market fall very quickly, then it stops itself from trading and pulls out and doesn’t lose capital.
What effect do you think Brexit will have on the investment ecosystem?
I feel hopeful for the future beyond Brexit, I think it could potentially provide more opportunity. I think there’ll be more eyes on the UK market, in terms of property and a lot of other things. In terms of currency, I think it could provide more opportunity as the markets will change and there’s bound to be a lot more movement within currencies.
What would you say the main technological advances have been that have been advantageous for your business?
The main thing for us is access to information and data. That’s fundamental within our due diligence checks, initial reviews of projects and the transparency we’re able to give to our investors. We’re developing our app, which will give investors real-time access to their accounts and performance.
What do you do in your downtime?
I’ve tried to use the lockdown period to better myself. I’ve been getting my Spanish up to scratch. I’m very excited to have recently passed my powerboat driving course so now in my downtime, I take the powerboat out around the Solent.
"We want to focus on that legacy for future generations, personally as well as corporately, and play our part in providing impactful investments that make a difference to the world."
Can you tell us about any new projects on the horizon?
We have plans to launch other company brands. We’re shortly launching Gap Equity Partners; we've partnered with two banks to create a corporate lending offer for property developers requiring funding for purchase and development of land.
Who inspired your younger self and is it the same person who inspires you today?
My mum was a single parent and she worked to become a high up executive at HSBC. She had an amazing work ethic and she certainly instilled that in me and inspired me as a younger person.
Today, my business partner Steve and I bring out the best of each other. I've never met such a lateral thinker; he’s a problem solver without constraint. We class ourselves as disruptive thinkers, and he certainly is one of those.
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