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european small-cap equities

Ten Lifestyle

company name
Ten Lifestyle Group
core business
Lifestyle concierge services
established
1998
headquarters
London, United Kingdom
esg consideration
Response to COVID-19
Social
Governance

Company Overview

Ten Lifestyle is a UK-based provider of concierge services. The company enables private banks and high-end credit card companies to provide its client base with a “virtual concierge.” Ten handles a wide variety of personal requests from its clients; however, most use the company to book tables at popular restaurants, to plan and book trips, or to score tickets for in-demand shows.
We have been shareholders of Ten since 2018, shortly after its initial public offering (IPO). Our thesis centred on the Chief Executive Officer and Founder Alex Cheatle’s vision of building “the world’s most trusted service provider,” Ten’s differentiated technology platform strategy, and its roster of loyal clients, with plenty of potential for increasing share of wallet within the existing customer base.

ESG Consideration

Ten Lifestyle’s business is driven by dining, travel, and entertainment – three activities that were completely shut down by COVID-19. When we went into global lockdown last March, we were bracing for the worst, expecting revenues to collapse and mass furlough to ensue.
Noticing the early impact of COVID-19 on its Asian operators, the company completely overhauled its service offering to help its clients adjust to the COVID-19 world.
Helping clients book their next trip
Facilitating mask sourcing
Arranging grocery delivery within a reasonable time frame
The financial institutions that Ten sells to were in much better shape than they were in 2009, which allowed them to invest in customer care services. This quick thinking allowed Ten to grow its non-commission revenues in March and April. For the year, total revenues were only down by 30%, mainly driven by declines in commissions. While this outcome might seem obvious once you see the explanation (of course Ten’s clients still have needs, even under a lockdown), the path was far from clear during last March, and the outcome could have been very different had the company not overhauled its services to remain relevant.
At first glance, Ten’s response may look like it has little to do with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors and more like a tale of swift adaptation, but the connection becomes much clearer once we focus on the crucial choice the company encountered last March. As the world went into lockdown, the company was faced with two drastically different paths: severely retrenching or continuing to generate value for its customers.
Final thoughts
Choosing the latter and focusing on its overall mission of being a trusted service provider resulted in better outcomes for everyone. End customers were happy to receive help navigating through challenging times. Financial institutions were happy to be able to take care of their customers. Ten’s employees were happy to be working. And, as shareholders, we benefitted too. This type of win-win-win-win is rare and deserves applause.
Sources: Burgundy research, Ten Lifestyle filings
About the author
Andrew Choi
About the author
Andrew Choi, CFA
Vice President, Portfolio Manager
Andrew was a late bloomer, only discovering investing at a ripe old age of 20. Although Andrew comes from an entrepreneurial family, he spent his youth doing something as far from business as possible: practicing magic. While he was attempting to become a professional magician, he stumbled upon a copy of The Intelligent Investor. A eureka moment ensued and he realized it was time for a career change. The timing was impeccable, as the 2008 financial crisis soon followed. Despite the turbulence, he is happy to have followed his family’s lead and pursue a career in business. Excited to be practicing his new passion, Andrew focuses his efforts on European equities.
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