City of London Investment Management Company Limited was founded in 1991 by Barry Olliff, the current CIO. The company was formed out of the London-based operations of Olliff & Partners PLC (O&P) that had been founded by Barry in 1987. O&P was an agency stockbroker and corporate finance boutique specialising in the U.K. investment trust sector. As part of the brokerage research effort, the firm identified significant pricing inefficiencies particularly in those funds giving emerging markets exposure.
Barry determined the most appropriate way to capitalise on these inefficiencies was from an investment management standpoint and launched City of London Unit Trust Managers, the predecessor of City of London Investment Management in 1991. The first active emerging markets product, The Emerging Markets Country Trust, was launched in September 1991.
In 1994, building on the success of the U.K. business, the firm launched a U.S. institutional emerging markets strategy for tax-exempt investors. The firm registered with the SEC as an investment advisor in April of 1994. A Canadian marketing presence was also established that year. Over the following six years, a number of institutional funds for North American clients were launched as emerging markets benchmarks were developed in the industry.
City of London Investment Management Company Limited operates from five centres, London, Philadelphia (established 1995), Singapore (established 2000), Dubai (established 2007) and Seattle (established 2015), managing assets primarily for institutional investors.
In 2002 and 2003 the investment team started to delve deeper into the stages of country development from "developing" to "developed", especially China and India, and the implications thereof, namely, the rise in the consumption of natural resources.
In 2005, we extended our emerging markets expertise into the frontier markets by launching the Frontier Emerging Markets strategy.
In 2009, we applied our unrivalled knowledge of closed-end funds around the world to the development of a Global Closed-End Fund strategy, using the same investment process as in our Emerging Markets Closed-End Fund strategy.
In 2014, we applied our unrivalled knowledge of closed-end funds around the world to the development of a Global Tactical Asset Allocation Closed-End Fund strategy, as well as a Tactical Income Strategy for US taxable clients that provides income that is tax advantaged.
In 2015, we established our fifth office in Seattle to serve West Coast clients and market our products to institutional prospects.