City of London Investment Management was founded in 1991 by Barry Olliff. 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.


In 2000, we established our third office in Singapore to enable on-the-ground research and trading of the Asian portion of our investment universe.


In 2005, we extended our emerging markets expertise into the frontier markets by launching the Frontier Emerging Markets strategy.


In 2009, we applied our knowledge of Closed-End Funds around the world to the development of a Global Closed-End Fund strategy, using a similar investment process as in our Emerging Markets Closed-End Fund strategy.


In 2014, we expanded and diversified our Global CEF strategy via development of as Opportunistic Value CEF strategy.


In 2022, we launched a Global Developed product for U.S. institutions.