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Financial Services Newsletter - Friday 3rd December 2021

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Financial Services News

Rathbones is to relocate its Aberdeen-based team to Glasgow following the mid-2022 retirement of current Regional Director Meera Dennis. Staff currently based in Scotland’s oil capital will be offered the opportunity to either work remotely or transfer to the company’s Glasgow office, which employs 41 wealth managers and is the largest behind its London HQ and Liverpool.

AJ Bell upped its tech budget by almost a third in the 12 months to the end of September as it sank cash into expanding and updating its systems and ensuring it is proofed against any repeat of last year’s embarrassing platform outage. Technology costs rose from £20m to just below £26m following the acquisition in March of mobile platform Adalpha. They also announced the launch of a new consumer investment app, Dodl.

Tilney ESG Manager Louie French has won a by-election in the safe Conservative seat of Bexley and Sidcup. French previously said that he would step down from his role at the Wealth Manager and ‘not have any second jobs’ if he won the vote.

Global law firmInce Grouphas launched a UK-based, international wealth planning division beneath the recently hired trust and estate expert Nick Rucker. Rucker, who joined in January as Partner and Global Head of Private Wealth following six years as Head of Tax and Trusts at Irwin Mitchell, will head a team of 80 Lawyers, Tax Specialists, Financial Planners and Wealth Managers. The launch comes as the group closes in on the acquisition of Midlands private client Stockbroker and Corporate Adviser Arden Partners.

Cazenove Capitalhas launched a new donor-advised fund to help meeting growing client demand for charitable giving. The Cazenove Capital Donor Advised fund will be administered by National Philanthropic Trust UK. The wealth management firm, which is part of the Schroders Group, said the fund builds on its “strong heritage” supporting clients to invest their money in line with their values. A donor-advised fund account is a philanthropic fund established under a charity, which administers the fund to benefit specific causes on behalf of a donor.

Regional wealth firmBlankstone Singtonhas reached a voluntary agreement to suspend key areas of its regulated business after a series of staff exits. The Liverpool based Investment Manager, which runs £430m, has agreed with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to cease taking on new clients and accepting cash or assets from existing clients. The firm said there are exceptions in place, such as movements associated with open trades and positions of existing customers, however.

James Brearley & Sons’profits dipped 24% year-on-year to £709,000, as lower interest on cash balances hit investment revenue. Nigel Corrie, joint Chief Executive of the firm, said interest rates earned on cash balances had reduced over the year to the end of April 2021. This caused investment revenue to fall by 64% to £248,000, down from £692,000 the previous year.

Brewin Dolphinhas recognised more than £3.6m in costs related to an abandoned move to a new HQ leased in 2019, before Covid-19 upended office working. The cost – up from just £250,000 in the year before – was reported in the company’s full-year results showing profit 16.7% higher in the year to the end of September, at £72.5m.

In further news...Brewin Dolphinhas partnered with HR service providerWellness Cloudto provide wellbeing support for their employees. Wellness Cloud will offer one-to-one remote sessions with experts on topics including fertility, menopause and parenting.

Julius Baer’sprofitability jumped by 22.5% in the first 10 months of the year, fuelled by a big jump in inflows. Its profits rose from CHF 557.2m (£446m) to CHF 709m. The Swiss private bank said net new money doubled to CHF 10bn, which was mostly driven by clients in Asia and Western Europe.

The cost ofQuilter Cheviot’s managed portfolio service (MPS) will fall by up to 40% as it switches client assets from third-party to internal funds. To facilitate this the firm has launched an internal ‘Building Blocks’ fund range, which will initially be exclusively used by Quilter’s MPS service. The funds will be constructed and managed by the firm’s 10-strong stockpicking team, which will work alongside its investment fund research unit.

Boutique Wealth ManagerMeyado Private Wealth Management Londonhas entered liquidation following 13 upheld complaints at the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) relating to Pension transfer advice given by a former Appointed Representative (AR). The UK business entered liquidation on 29 October, according to documents filed at Companies House. It was part of global wealth management business Meyado Private Wealth Management, which is headquartered in Frankfurt and launched in the UK in 2014.

Credit Suisseis aiming to hire 500 Advisors over the next three years for its newly unified global private banking business. Recently the Swiss private banking group combined its wealth businesses in Switzerland, Asia and internationally into a single new $930bn (£688bn) global division.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Tilney Smith & Williamson has signed private client boutique Explore Wealth Management to its succession planning programme and will add its staff to its Newcastle office. A spokesperson for Tilney S&W declined to disclose the ultimate value of the deal or details of its structure. Five members of the seven-strong team, including Owner and Financial Planner Stephen Sumner, will transfer from the company’s Cramlington base to Tilney’s Newcastle office, which will now employ 22 staff beneath boss David Smith.

Advice firm and Wealth ManagerKingswoodhas acquired North Yorkshire based Metnor Holdings and its subsidiariesIBOSS Asset ManagementandNovus Financial Servicesfor £16m, subject to regulatory approval.

Inf urther news...Kingswoodhas added £115m in client assets via the purchase of Redcar Independent Financial AdviserMoney Matters (North East)for £3.4m. Half of that sum will be paid upfront with the balance paid over the next two years, subject to performance. The deal will be funded with cash raised from long-term backer Pollen Street Capital, which recently injected a further £20m via a preference share issue. Money Matters Principals Alastair Raine and Chris Woodhams will join Kingswood alongside their 11-stong team and about 600 clients.

Quilterhas confirmed the sale ofQuilter InternationaltoUtmost Group plc (Utmost)completed on 30th November 2021). Total cash consideration was circa £480m, representing the agreed cash consideration of £460m together with accrued interest payable under the sale agreement up to the completion date of around £20m.

Abrdnhas confirmed its acquisition of direct-to-consumer (D2C) investment platform giantInteractive Investor (II)for £1.5bn. The deal, which will result in Abrdn competing directly with Hargreaves Lansdown for D2C investors, will see Abrdn take on II’s 400,000 customers and £55bn of assets. Upon completion, II’s Chief Executive Richard Wilson, as well as its senior management, will remain in charge of the platform, which will sit as a standalone business within Abrdn’s Personal division.

MKC Wealth, an IFA firm that was recently bought by two ex-Quilter Directors, has acquired the independent advice arm of Quilter-ownedLighthouse Group. Lighthouse Carrwood staff, including its 12 Advisers, will join MKC Wealth and the business will drop its previous branding.

National IFA ConsolidatorIndependent Wealth Planners (IWP)has snapped up another two advice firms, taking its total acquisition count to 28. IWP acquired Moray-basedAlex M Grant & Coand Surrey-basedCustodian Wealth Managementfor an undisclosed sum, stretching its coverage to opposite ends of the UK.

Leeds-based wealth management firmProgenyhas acquired an established regional rival to grow its presence in the area. The acquisition ofJM Glendinning Financial Servicesfor an undisclosed sum boosts Progeny’s Yorkshire footprint. 

Movers & Shakers

Hargreaves Lansdownhas hired Virgin Group’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO),Amy Stirling, to fill the void left by Philip Johnson’s pending departure. Stirling, who has been part of Virgin’s senior leadership team since September 2016, will succeed Johnson as Hargreaves’ CFO next February.

Wes Nixonis leaving his role as CEO ofIndependent Wealth Planners’ (IWP)Welsh and South West hubs after less than 18 months. Nixon was appointed CEO of Truro-based Kelsall Steele in June 2020 and Chief Executive of Cardiff-based Maven Wealth Management in February – both are regional hubs of IWP. Nixon will join Bristol-basedCenturionas a Financial Planner in January 2022, helping the firm with its long-term strategy. 

Close Brothers Asset Management (CBAM) Chief ExecutiveMartin Andrewis to step down after 13 years at the helm. Andrew, who has been with the business for 16 years in total, is leaving to ‘pursue the next stage of his career’, according to a statement from the firm. He will remain at the business until next spring, with the search for his successor underway. A further appointment has been made to the companies high-net-worth team with a hire from rival Brown Shipley.Paul Spannjoins as an Investment Director after a six-year stint with Brown Shipley. He will take up a post in the firm’s Manchester office.

Brown Shipleyhas appointed Barclays Private BankerGeorgina Breezeas a Client Director in its Manchester office. Breeze spent a decade at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, where she spent 10 years providing investment advice on discretionary and advisory portfolios. She began her career at St James’s Place.

In further news...Brown Shipley has recruited Financial AdviserKenny Cummingsto its Edinburgh office in an ongoing expansion of its business in Scotland. Cummings joins from Wealth Adviser Spence & Spence, where he had worked since 2017.

Aegon UKhas appointedJim Ewingas Chief Financial Officer, subject to regulatory approval. He replacesStephen McGee, who has been CFO since 2016 and prior to that held a number of senior finance positions within Aegon. Ewing joined Aegon in 2011, from Lloyds Banking Group, where he was latterly solvency II Director. McGee yesterday announced he will take up the role of Chief Executive atScottish Friendly.

Former Brewin Dolphin Divisional DirectorAlex Barrellis joining three former colleagues atRaymond James’Oxford branch. Chris Meecham, Hans Price and Jeremy Harben set up the office in 2017 having worked together at Brewin for over a decade. In July, Raymond James announced that it would buy Charles Stanley, in a deal valuing the business at 515p a share.

Tilney Smith & Williamsonhas appointedNeil Sparkesas a Financial Planner to its Exeter office as the firm continues to expand its presence in the West Country. Sparkes has more than 30 years’ experience in Financial Services and joins from Francis Clark Financial Planning where he worked as a Paraplanner and Financial Planner. 

Further appointments fromTilney Smith & Williamson (TS&W) involve their Birmingham expansion.Adam WestandClare Halliganhave joined its Birmingham Tax team as a Partner and Director respectively. West joined from RSM, where he headed up the firm’s private client advisory team in Manchester.Halliganjoins from Grant Thornton with 10 years of Tax dispute and resolution experience.

Tilney Smith & Williamson has added another recruit to its ranks through the appointment of a Kleinwort Hambros veteran to its London investment management team.Andrew Lewinjoins the firm as an Investment Director, having most recently worked as a Director at Kleinwort Hambros.

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM)has hired Senior United Nations AdviserKurt Morriesenas Head of Investment Stewardship. Morriesen joins from the UN Development Programme, where he has worked as a Senior Advisor for impact investments and SDGs since 2018.

Ninety One’s Global Sustainability Head has joined rivalNewton Investment Management.Therese Niklassontakes up the same post at Newton after a 10-year spell at Ninety One during which she led the sustainable operation for the last year. She was previously Head of ESG for almost six years.

AJ Bellhas announced the departure ofLaura Carstensen, Chair of its Remuneration Committee and Senior Independent Director, from its board. Carstensen will step down in January following a four-year term in the role.Evelyn Bourke, a Non-Executive Director of British retail chain Marks & Spencer, will take over as Senior Independent Director from Carstensen. Bourke was first appointed as a Non-Executive Director of AJ Bell in March.

Jupiter Asset Managementhas hired Artemis Investment HeadMatthew Beesleyas its new Chief Investment Officer. Beesley, who held the same job title at Artemis, will oversee all of Jupiter’s investment staff and strategies across equities, fixed income and multi-asset.

Quilter Cheviothas bolstered its regional footprint through the hire of a trio of Investment Managers. The hires includeAndrew Cartwright, who joins the firm’s Birmingham office from Brewin Dolphin. In Scotland the firm has recruitedAndrew Gilbertfrom Parmenion Capital Partners for its Edinburgh branch.Dominic Lacey, who joins the Quilter Cheviot’s Salisbury branch from 4 Shires Asset Management, completes the trio of investment hires. 

Kleinwort Hambroshas continued its hiring spree with three new senior hires to its business in London, Yorkshire and the Channel Islands.Unni Chowallurjoins from Standard Chartered Private Bank, where he was Executive Director, becoming Director of Private Banking in the key client and international segment, working within the Middle East team, based in London.Mark Sheerinjoins as a Senior Private Banker andLaythamm Maloreyjoins as Business Development Manager, based in the Channel Islands.

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