PAUL MANDUCA, the new chief executive of Deutsche Asset Management, comes from one of those high-achieving families. He is one of four brothers, all of whom have top jobs in the City. One is head of small-cap stocks at UBS, another is a corporate litigation lawyer while the third is a hedge fund manager. Mr Manduca's wife is an ophthalmologist on London's Harley Street while his father ran his own security business which he sold to Securicor in the 1960s. Talking to him, you feel a bit of a dullard that you're not a qualified rocket scientist, or similar.
"I think it's just an accident," he says when asked whether it is just a coincidence that all four siblings have ended up in the Square Mile. "People do what they're good at, though I suppose my father was quite demanding and we were quite a competitive family."
He continues: "In my school days [at Harrow] I thought I was going to go into the Foreign Office but I was strongly advised by a friend of my father that while the diplomatic service might have been a good idea 50 years ago, I might find myself checking passports in a consul's office somewhere.
"At university [he studied modern languages at Oxford] I realised that I'd been looking at the stock market pages of the papers for quite some time. Suddenly it became clear to me that I was going to go into the City, though of course, as a student, you don't know a lot about the way it works."
Short and stocky with jet black hair which must stem from his Maltese roots, Mr Manduca speaks in a precise, clipped manner.
Given his fondness for precision, it is perhaps no surprise that one of his hobbies is collecting antique watches. "I'm interested in antiques, mainly pieces for my house which is an 1820s house [in Knightsbridge]. But I do like antique watches. People will pay a lot of money for a new watch, but they often forget that you can pick up watches for a fraction of the price at auction."
Mr Manduca is two months into the job as head of Deutsche Asset Managements' European division, having joined after a three-year stint at Rothschilds. He left there after the blue-blooded bank decided that private banking was its forte and that it didn't really want to push financial products at hoi polloi.
His brief at his new home is to make a big name even bigger. Worldwide, Deutsche has nearly $800bn (pounds 500bn) under management, ranking it in the very top tier of global fund managers. But in the UK Deutsche is rather puny in mutual funds, languishing outside the top 20 with just pounds 2.3bn under management.
"Under the DWS name we have a 25 per cent market share in German mutual funds," Mr Manduca says. "We launched the DWS brand here in September and obviously we're very keen to build the UK business and appeal to retail investors. We would expect to be no less than fourth in any of the markets in which we operate."
So far the DWS has made sales of pounds 100m in the UK since its launch and there will be a concerted push into products such as ISAs. "We're not a big ISA provider but there's no reason why we shouldn't be in the future," he says.
He adds that, in any event, such products will be a hard sell this year, due to the parlous state of the markets. "The ISA season is likely to be disappointing and that's really the disillusionment that people feel about what's happened. Our job as investment managers is to provide the right vehicle for savers in these times. …