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Financial Services Newsletter - Friday 7th May 2021

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Financial Services News

St James’s Place (SJP) has added around £35bn of client assets since this time last year, pushing to a new record, as it becomes the latest beneficiary of the return of client confidence. As markets opened SJP’s shares were up 1.13% on the news.

National IFA Succession Wealth has launched an advice arm for sports and entertainment professionals. The advice arm, Succession Sports & Entertainment, offers a service for young, established or retiring professionals working in the sports and entertainment industries. 

Quilter’s platform saw quarterly net inflows of £1bn for the first time at the start of 2021. Inflows doubled from the same period in 2020, when Quilter saw £500m come onto the platform. The platform now has £62.5bn of Assets Under Management.

Tatton has said earnings in the 12 months to the end of March will beat the most bullish analyst forecasts on ‘strong growth in revenue, adjusted operating profits and Assets Under Management’. Shares in the business were 12.5% higher in early trading, setting a fresh record high following a strong run since March.

Aviva’s advice arm has expanded its service and will start offering advice on investments through ISAs. Aviva Financial Advice (AFA), which is restricted to Aviva’s own products, already provides annuities, Pensions and Defined Benefit (DB) transfer advice, but its clients are now able to access investment advice as part of its standard service.

Total client inflows at Rathbones continued a strong run of more than 4% annual gains over the first three months of the year with new cash of £700m equivalent to a 5% increase. That matched the momentum seen in the highs of the recovery trade, lifting total assets from £54.7bn to £55.8bn, or 1.9%, versus the MSCI PIMFA Private Investor Balanced Index gain of 1.6%. In early trading the stock was 2.3% higher at £17.40p.

M&G’s Chief Operating Officer Roddy Thomson died last month aged 40. An M&G spokesperson said: "Roddy was a great colleague and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family at this difficult time". Thomson was Prudential’s UK & Europe Insurance COO between 2017 and 2019. He then held the same role at M&G Prudential until his death last month. 

Schroders has handed control of its underperforming UK Equity and UK Opportunities funds to Citywire AA-rated pair Bill Casey and Nick Kissack and placed four of its multimanager funds under review. The moves follow the Asset Manager’s second value for money assessment, which again found nine of its 89 funds were ‘not demonstrating value’ to Investors.

Options Pensions(formerly Carey Pensions) has sought permission from the Supreme Court to appeal a landmark judgment made against it. If the appeal proceeds and is successful, it could affect the due diligence responsibilities of Pension providers.

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA)is changing its name to Abrdn plc. The new name, which the firm said is pronounced ‘Aberdeen’, will be part of a ‘modern, agile, digitally enabled brand’ and will be used for all the company’s client-facing businesses globally.

AJ Bell’s advised platform is toasting its largest ever quarterly increase in advised customers, as it becomes the latest platform to announce a record-breaking start to 2021. Combining advised and direct-to-consumer platforms, AJ Bell’s assets under administration now total £58bn. Adding in non-platform funds, that figure reaches £65bn, a high watermark for the Manchester-based business.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)has paid out £12.5m over collapsed advice firm Active Wealth (UK), which advised members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). The lifeboat fund had received 542 claims against the firm and paid out just over £12.5m as of 13 April 2021.

Mergers & Acquisitions

James Hay’s takeover of Nucleus has received enough shareholder votes to pass, paving the way for the deal to be completed in the second half of 2021. James Hay said 91.7% of Nucleus’s shareholders voted in favour of the deal, meaning it passed its required threshold. The acquisition is still subject to FCA approval. The £145m deal, first confirmed in February, was switched from a ‘scheme of arrangement’ to a takeover last month after it received opposition from certain shareholders. Under the new takeover structure James Hay no longer needed the majority of individual shareholder members to vote in favour of the deal only those who own 75% of its equity, and it has now achieved this requirement.

Fidelius Group has struck a deal with deVere UK that will see it offer specialised advice to returning ex-pats. The acquisition, made for an undisclosed fee, will add 28 staff and £280m Assets Under Management to Fidelius, taking the group's overall AUM to £1.75bn. 

Ayrshire-based financial advice firm Affinity has been acquired by Leeds-based firm Progeny for an undisclosed sum. Progeny, which already has an operation in Edinburgh, said the acquisition of the Affinity financial planning practice would extend its multi-disciplinary professional services offering in Scotland.

Waverton Investment Management has snapped up a Scottish wealth boutique, adding £500m to its Assets Under Management. Wealth planner Cornerstone Asset Management, bought for an undisclosed sum, was launched in 2010 and has a 22 staff and 1,000 clients across its Glasgow and Edinburgh offices.

National advice group Socium Group has withdrawn its offer to buy advice firm and discretionary Fund Manager Beaufort Group. In September last year, Socium announced it had acquired Beaufort, subject to final shareholder and regulatory approvals, for an undisclosed sum as part of its plans to become the UK’s biggest national advice business.

AIM-listed National advice business Mattioli Woods (MTW)has completed another acquisition in a £1.6m deal. In an announcement to the markets this morning, Mattioli Woods said it had acquired Edinburgh-based Caledonia Asset Management for an ‘initial consideration’ of £960,000. A further £640,000 will follow if performance targets are met.

Canaccord Genuity Group is to acquire the investment arm of leading Scottish private bank Adam & Coin a £54m deal. The Canadian group said it had reached an agreement with parent NatWest to acquire the £1.7bn investment management division via its UK wealth management arm (CGWM UK).

Mattioli Woods has added £245m in client assets with the acquisition of Adviser Pole Arnold Financial (PAF). The wealth and fund firm spent £7m on Leicester’s PAF, with £4m up front and £3m dependent on performance.

Movers & Shakers

UBS Wealth Management is expanding its regional UK business, transitioning from a city-focused approach to larger geographical units. Debjani Raffan will become Regional Head for the North, covering Scotland, Northern Ireland, North East and Yorkshire. She joined UBS in 2005 and has been Scotland Head since 2016.Martyn Begbour, who has worked at UBS for nearly a decade, will cover the South, and becomes Regional Head for North West, Midlands, South West & Wales.

Mark Wharrier has left Majedie following prolonged underperformance of on his UK equity income fund and an 88% slump in assets. Majedie Co-Founder Chris Field will take over the 32-stock LF Majedie UK Income fund after assets fell from £840m to £100m.Mike Totton, who had served as Co-Manager, is also stepping down from the fund but remaining with the business.

Former Brooks Macdonald Director and Head of Multi-Asset Jonathan Webster-Smith has joined London-based Bowmore Asset Management as Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer (CIO). Webster-Smith joined the investment management and financial planning firm after spending 20 years at Brooks Macdonald as a Trainee Investment Manager and later its Director and Head of Multi-Asset.

Jupiter has promoted four members of its Investment team as Managers on a number of key equity and bond funds. Sohil Chotai and David Cameron-Mowat have been made Fund Managers on the European equities and UK small and mid-cap equities teams respectively. Hilary Blandy has been promoted to Manager on the Jupiter Monthly Income Bond fund, while Reza Karim has been made a Fund Manager on the emerging market debt team.

Jacqui Jardine has stood down as Beaufort Group’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) after five years in the role. Jade Swanston, will have responsibility for its finances going forward.

Former President of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) Adam Owen has resigned from his position on its board. Owen, who is also Director and Head of Content at the NextGen Planners Group, said the timing of his departure was not related to the recent resignation of CEO Keith Richards.

Transact has hired former Royal London Director Tom Dunbar as its new Chief Development Officer. Dunbar, who was at Royal London for just under four years, most recently as its Distribution Director, joinedTransactthis month.

Citywire AA-rated Fund Manager Neil Richardson, who is currently named on Aberdeen Standard Investments’ famous Global Absolute Return Strategy (Gars), has resigned. Richardson had been with the company since September 2011, when his former employer Ignis Asset Management was absorbed by Standard Life Investments (SLI). He had previously been Head of UK equities at Ignis.

Succession Wealth’s Chief Operating Officer Wadham Downing is among a trio of senior departures from the company, as the national restructures its senior management team once again. Downing joined Succession only 15 months ago from Tilney, where he was Chief Financial Officer. Mark Day, Succession’s Director of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and Irena Barker, Director of Technology and Transformation, are also exiting. Day was tasked with searching for large acquisitions for the group, while Barker was responsible for integrating them.

Royal London Asset Management (RLAM)has appointed Eli Haroush to the newly-created role of Head of ESG research, which sits within its responsible investment team.

Canada Life has appointed ex-Aviva Savings and Retirement Boss Lindsey Rix as its new UK Chief Executive Officer. Rix stood down as Aviva’s Savings and Retirement Boss earlier this month after three and half years at the Insurer. She replaces Doug Brown as Canada Life’s UK CEO and will report to David Harney, President and Chief Operating Officer for Canada Life Europe.

M&G Wealth has signaled its intent to acquire IFAs with the appointment of its first Recruitment and Acquisition Director. Tim Clark, formerly of consolidator Loyal North, has joined M&G Wealth to help grow its self-employed adviser network, The Advice Partnership (TAP).

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from multiple Financial Services Media sources and individual company press releases.