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Financial Services Newsletter - Friday 1st April 2022

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Financial Services News

Schroders Chief Executive Peter Harrison credited the “strategic decisions” the firm took several years ago with helping to generate net new business of £35.3bn in 2021. Assets under management rose 10% to “a new high” of £731.6bn, the firm said, with net income up 18% at £2.6bn. “The areas where we have invested for growth have delivered strongly,” said Harrison, citing performances “across our partnerships, wealth, private assets and our sustainability franchise”. The board has, therefore, recommended a total dividend of 122 pence per share, up 7% from last year.

Cheltenham-headquartered RockWealth has opened a financial planning branch in Aberdeen. This comes after it launched three UK operations in 2021. RockWealth has offices in Cheltenham, Norwich, Leamington Spa, Brighton, Cardiff and Knutsford. The Aberdeen operation is the company’s first in Scotland. The office will be led by the Founder of RockWealth Aberdeen, Lloyd Davies, who has joined the firm from Ascot Lloyd.

Tilney Smith & Williamson has announced record financial results and excellent progress with the integration in the first full year since the completion of its merger. Achieving strong momentum in new business and both record assets under management (AUM) and Adjusted EBITDA1.

Brooks Macdonald shares have rocketed more than 8% today following the sale of Brewin Dolphin to RBC at a 60% premium, leading a broad rally in the valuation of UK discretionary managers.

Former Fidelity CEO and Chairman Edward ‘Ned’ Johnson III has died at 91, according to a LinkedIn post by his daughter Abby Johnson. Abby Johnson, who is the current Fidelity CEO and Chairperson, made it known that her father had died at home in Wellington, Florida.

The FCA has spent around £850,000 on external consultants to help it work through a backlog of authorisations and change-of-control applications, a freedom of information (FOI) request found. Last month, Sheldon Mills, the regulator’s Executive Director, consumers and competition, told MPs in a Treasury Select Committee (TSC) hearing that the FCA hired external contractors last year to reduce an authorisation and change-of-control backlog that had seen some firms wait six months for approval. Around 25 staff were hired from consultancy BDO to help with senior manager regime applications, and 25 from law firm DLA Piper to work on change-of-control applications.

Tilney Smith & Williamson has signed a deal for a larger Newcastle office as it aims to grow its North East business. The office on St Ann’s Quay will have double the space of its current Newcastle premises at nearby Quayside House, housing 22 staff with further room to grow.

Nine large investment groups have joined Black Women in Asset Management (BWAM), a non-profit group campaigning to increase the representation of black women in the industry. Ares Management, BlackRock, Federated Hermes, Helios Investment Partners, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, M&G plc, Maniyar Capital, Morningstar, Inc. and State Street Global Advisors will join BWAM’s campaign to support the hiring and retention of black women at their institutions.

Shares in Close Brothers have been sold heavily on news its trading arm suffered a steep fall in profit over the latter half of 2021. In a trading update for the six months to the end of January, the company reported operating profit at Winterflood Securities 74% lower than the first half of the 2022 financial year. Close attributed this to a reversal in the high level of trading during the pandemic. 

Mergers & Acquisitions

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is to buy Wealth Manager Brewin Dolphin, subject to regulatory approval. RBC Wealth Management (Jersey) is buying Brewin for 515p a share, implying an equity value of around £1.6bn. The deal reflects a 62% premium to yesterday’s share price close.

​Sarasin & Partners has acquired Bread Street Capital Partners, the private equity firm launched by two former Aberdeen Standard Investments Managers a little more than nine months ago. Bread Street was set up by Alex Barr and James Witter in June, with the aim of launching funds of funds and taking advantage of co-investment opportunities. The firms did not disclose the terms of the deal, however, following the transaction Barr and Witter will become full partners within Sarasin with equity shares. The pair will run Sarasin Bread Street as an autonomous business unit.

A majority stake in the Nucleus-James Hay business has been sold to Private Equity (PE) firm HPS Investment Partners. The group’s current PE owner Epiris will retain a ‘significant minority stake’. 

​Private equity-backed national advice group Amber River has acquired Cheltenham-based advice firm HDA IFA, bringing its total assets under advice towards the £7bn mark three years after launching as Socium Group. The acquisition of HDA adds four advisers and £380m of assets under advice to the group. 

St Albans-based Lumin Wealth has acquired local regional Adviser Enhance Wealth Management. The purchase, for an undisclosed sum, comes after Swiss financial services firm VZ Group bought a 50.1% stake in Lumin last May, which the Zurich-based firm said would provide it with a ‘springboard’ to grow its UK presence. Aviva has acquired national advice firm Succession Wealth for £385m.

Aviva has acquired national advice firm Succession Wealth for £385m. The company said the acquisition, announced in its financial statements this morning, ‘enhances our position in the fast-growing UK wealth market and accelerates our ability to offer high-quality financial advice to six million of our workplace and individual pension and savings customer.’

Movers & Shakers

National IFA Wren Sterling has appointed James Twining as its Chief Executive Officer. Twining has joined from private equity backed specialist insurance Broker Kingsbridge Group where he has been CEO for the past four and a half years. Prior to that, he held roles in senior leadership, strategy consulting and M&A, including six years as the Group Commercial Director of JLT Group.

Mercer, a global leader in redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being, and a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), has named Christopher “Chris” Williams in a new fully dedicated Global Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) Leader role. Chris brings more than 20 years of experience driving transformational change in I&D to Mercer. He previously worked at HBO and Viacom and most recently, he worked as an executive coach specializing in diversity and leadership development. Mercer also appointed Kaia West as Inclusion and Diversity Leader for the US & Canada. Kaia joined Mercer in 2019 as National Recruiting Leader for Mercer’s Government Human Services Consulting practice and then expanded her role to include I&D leadership in that business, following more than 13 years with KPMG in talent acquisition and diversity roles.

Financial advice and investment group Flying Colours has made two senior appointments, and laid out plans to recruit 30 Advisers by year end. Chris Handshaw joins the business as Head of Sales. He was most recently Head of Adviser Relations and Employed Sales at AFH Wealth Management. Meanwhile, Bret Jackson – an experienced Financial Marketer with more than 20 years of industry experience – will join as Marketing and Communications Manager. In addition to the appointments, three new employed Advisers have agreed to join since January. The ambition is for a total of 15 new Advisers to join the business by the end of June. The firm also has a provisional plan to have hired 30 in total by the end of the year, although this is currently just an estimate.

​WH Ireland Non-Executive Chairman Philip Shelley is stepping down from the firm on 25 April to pursue other business interests. The banking veteran joined the wealth firm in 2019. Simon Lough, who has been a Non-Executive Director of WH Ireland since 2019, will become acting Non-Executive Chairman.

Brewin Dolphin has hired Citizens Advice Chief Executive Leslie Redwood as its Head of Charities Business Development. Redwood, who has 15 years of charity and third sector experience, will work with Brewin’s eight specialist charity teams to develop the service across the UK.

​Simon Boardman-Weston is stepping down as Chief Executive of BRI Wealth Management and handing the position to his son Dan Boardman-Weston. Simon acquired BRI in 1991 and will continue to work at the company as Executive Chairman. Dan joined the Midlands-based firm as a Trainee Portfolio Manager in 2011 after completing his A levels. The 29-year-old became Head of Portfolio Management in 2015 and was promoted to Chief Investment Officer in 2019.

​Kleinwort Hambros has hired a Barclays Private Bank veteran to target ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients in the South of England and Wales. Neil Lewis joins Kleinwort Hambros as Head of Key Clients.

Janus Henderson Group has named Ali Dibadj, AllianceBernstein’s (AB) Head of Strategy, as its new Chief Executive. Dibadj leaves AB, where he was also Chief Financial Officer. Before that, he was a Portfolio Manager within the equities team.

JM Finn has bolstered its leadership team by adding four new members to its management committee. They are Melanie Kearney, Head of Compliance, Gary Merrick, Head of Human Resources, Barry Smead, Chief Operating Officer of investment management, and Oliver Tregoning, Head of Marketing.

Abrdn has announced the launch of a ‘sustainability group’, which will lead the company’s green strategy. The newly created team will provide subject-matter expertise to the investment process and support the company’s sustainable investing value chain. It will be led by the group’s former Global Head of Responsible Investment, Amanda Young, who has been named Chief Sustainability Officer.

In further news...Abrdn’s Chief Executive for discretionary management Richard Charnock is to retire next month following 15 years with the company. Discretionary Business Director David Driver will succeed him as Business Head. Driver joined Abrdn in 2010, having held discretionary director roles for more than 20 years. 

Funds supermarket and Stock Broker AJ Bell (AJB) has hired Jamie Ward as Head of its £2bn investment solutions division, where he will manage the firm’s managed portfolio service (MPS) and multi-asset range. Ward joins following seven years at Crux Asset Management where he managed the £59.6m UK Core fund alongside Richard Penny.

Tilney Smith & Williamson has added to its London financial planning team with a hire from James Hambro & Partners. Francesca Allard joins the group as a Financial Planning Associate Director after five years at James Hambro & Partners, where she held the position of Associate Financial Planner.

In further news...Tilney Smith & Williamson has hired Charles Stanley Senior Investment Manager and veteran AIM specialist stock picker Sean O’Flanagan. O’Flanagan joins as Investment Director, following nine years at Charles Stanley, where he managed its AIM-based IHT service.

Advanta Group has hired Matt Webber to spearhead the launch of a discretionary investment business. He joins from Abrdn’s MyFolio team where he was previously a Senior Investment Manager on the £37bn range. He was also involved with the construction and management of multi-asset portfolios for 1825. 

Cazenove Capital has bolstered its Edinburgh team with the hire of Nick Keenan, who was a Director and former Head of the North of England at Barclays Wealth & Investment. He joins Cazenove as a Portfolio Director, with a particular focus on entrepreneurs and business owners in Scotland.

Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management UK has promoted Justin Oliver to the new position of Chief Investment Officer of its funds division.  

Stonehage Fleming has appointed a new Director to its wealth planning team. Based in London, Nick Toubkin will work alongside the existing team to serve UK and international clients. Toubkin joins from Strabens Hall, where he was Senior Client Director, a member of the investment committee and senior management team.

JPM Asset Management has created two new roles within its sustainable investing team to help further expand its work in this area. Roland Rott will be the Head of Sustainable Investing Research, while Soňa Stadtelmeyer-Petru has been hired as Lead Sustainable Investing Strategy in Europe, The Middle East and Africa (Emea).

Brown Shipley has made a raft of hires from Barclays Wealth & Investment to boost its eastern regional presence. The team will be led by Simon Smith, who has 34 years’ experience, most recently as Regional Director for the eastern region at Barclays Wealth & Investment Management. He will be joined by eight of his former Barclays Wealth & Investment colleagues: Kevin Nevard, Paul Marshall, Mark Turner, David Vernon, Luke Caraccio, Warren George, Mark Harrod and James Haynes. They all join as Client Advisers. 

Brown Shipley has continued its hiring spree from rival Barclays Wealth, with James Blashfield joining the Quintet-owned private bank as an Executive Director. Blashfield formerly led a team of Barclays’ Wealth Managers and Private Bankers looking after resident non-domicile and ‘financial institutions’ clients.

LGT Vestra has promoted eight staff from among its ranks to Partner, after five Partners have left the firm. Barbara Kane, Andy Gaskell, Ed Campbell-Harris, Effie Geraki, Elliott O’Brien, Pete Gyles, William Boyd-Carpenter, Rob Holt and Valentina Tacchino were promoted to members of the partnership on 1 January.

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