Established in 1946, we are the Isle of Man’s longest-established independent firm of stockbrokers and investment managers.
In a world of uncertainty, we provide stability and clarity. We also know investing is a long-term business. That is why we offer a bespoke service, taking time to understand your investment objectives.
Independent advice and thought forms the bedrock of our business. Another core value is striving to provide the highest levels of personal attention.
And by employing only the very best people, we create real value to our private and institutional clients, trusts and pension funds.
Now in its third generation, Ramsey Crookall is a trusted family firm that is continually evolving to meet our clients’ needs and expectations.
Ramsey Crookall and Co commenced trading on June 3, 1946 from 17 Athol Street in Douglas, Isle of Man. Its founders were Ramsey Crookall and lifelong friend Brian McMeekin. Levy Langner & Co acted as the firm’s London agents.
Office hours were a gentleman’s affair in the early days. Just four deals were completed on the first day of trading: a purchase of War Stock, sale of Daily Mirror shares and a matched bargain in Douglas Holiday Camp preference shares. Trading was also very different. Orders were sent by telegram to London and contract notes worked out by manual multiplication and long division. Transfers and ledgers were stored manually. It wasn’t until the early 1960s when Ramsey’s son Neal Crookall returned to the island after working in London that a barrel peg calculator with winding handle was used.
In 1965, the firm moved to offices in Victory House. Robert Comaish joined in 1969, becoming a partner in 1979. In the early 1970s, the firm moved to 14D Athol Street. Market news was relayed by Extel ‘ticker tape’, which was placed in long sheets in the reception area. Clients used to congregate, reading the latest company news and announcements – a sight more akin to a bookies’ premises. Technology was creeping in with electronic calculators the size of portable typewriters being used for the first time. Staff numbers had increased to 12.
In the late 1970s, the firm moved again to 25 Athol Street, By then, an Olivetti mechanical card system had replaced hand-written ledgers. Stock exchange technology and regulation was also moving on. Communication terminals were installed to allow trading through London and monthly returns, capital adequacy and regular inspections introduced. Ramsey Crookall himself died in 1982 and will long be remembered as founder of the business, his sense of humour and an unflappable approach in times of stress.
In the early 1980s, police evacuated the entire financial centre of Douglas having received a bomb threat. However, traders in our dealing room steadfastly and stubbornly remained on site. Our motto “the client always comes first” was being tested to the limit. Needless to say, the bomb scare proved to be a hoax.
David Harding joined in 1972, becoming a partner in 1986. 1986 was also the year of the ‘Big Bang’, which heralded huge changes to the stockbroking community – essentially deregulating financial markets and bringing greater competition to the City of London. Ultimately, it was decided we would remain independent. In the turmoil, there was one big advantage: it became possible to deal directly with ‘jobbers’ – now called market makers – eliminating London agent charges and reducing costs for our clients. Fixed-rate commissions no longer applied and larger deals became negotiable.
Joanna Crookall, current CEO and granddaughter of Ramsey, joined in October 1987. As a fresh-faced graduate, she was somewhat unprepared for ‘Black Monday’ in her second week, which saw billions wiped off stock markets worldwide. In just four days, the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 100 had lost 25% in value. Despite this, Joanna persevered before becoming a director in 1991.
During this time, David Harding, the current managing director, oversaw our involvement in the UK privatisation programme promoted by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, opening the door to popular share ownership. Ramsey Crookall was one of a few UK firms selected to coordinate applications on behalf of individual investors.
Patrick, grandson of Ramsey, joined in 1996 and is currently responsible for share trading in the dealing room, holding the role of finance director. In 1997, we moved to our current location at Securities House, 38/42 Athol Street. Housing the latest technology, trading now takes place daily in London, as well as overnight on the main US, Asian and Australian markets. Patrick’s brother Simon joined in 2013. Simon had previously founded and sold successful internet ventures Gumtree and Slando and is looking to use technology to improve the way the firm communicates and services the needs of our clients.
The firm remains family owned and managed. We have also scooped a number of prestigious awards, including Wealth Manager of the Year for 2012 at the City of London Annual Awards followed by, a year later at the same event, Neal Crookall being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the industry.