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Financial Services Newsletter - Friday 6th May 2022

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Financial Services News

Schroders Capital has been selected by Nest, one of the UK’s largest workplace Pension schemes, to run at least £1.5bn of its capital in private equity. The government-backed Pension fund, which currently runs £24bn for its 10 million members, began auditioning specialist managers last year. Following the initial sum, it expects to maintain a long-term 5% allocation to the sector.

Schroders’ Assets Under Management rose 2.8% in the first three months of the year to £752.7bn on the back of the firm’s purchase of River and Mercantile Group’s (R&M) UK Solutions division. Despite the group taking a hit to its wealth and mutual fund arms, the firm’s total AUM rose by £21.1bn, as its solutions arm saw assets rise by £36.4bn to £234.5bn.

In further news...Schroders non-voting shares (SDRC) have surged after the Fund Manager’s founding family agreed to extend voting rights to all of the group’s investors and abolish its historic dual class structure. Under the enfranchisement plan, each non-voting share will be converted into an ordinary share, giving these investors the same basic voting rights as ordinary shareholders on a range of matters, including mergers and acquisitions and the election of Directors.

St James’s Place’s (SJP) Assets Under Management have surpassed £150bn for the first time. In a Q1 trading update, SJP announced its assets had reached £151.3bn, up £16bn from last year. Net inflows for the firm were £2.9bn in the quarter, broadly in line with inflows from the same quarter in 2021.

In further news...St. James’s Place (SJP) Chief Executive Andrew Croft received £3.26m in pay and bonuses last year after the Wealth Manager’s profits jumped 50% in 2021.  According to SJP’s annual report, Croft’s total pay – including cash and deferred bonuses – rose from £813,000 in 2020 to £3.26m by the end of last year. Croft’s base salary is £568,218 per annum. 

AJ Bell was propped up by its platform arm in difficult first quarter market conditions. The firm registered a net inflow of £1.5bn over the three months, with its platform business the major driver of this with a £1.6bn inflow. Its investment arm pulled in £223m, which was offset by ‘non-platform’ outflows of £300m.

Abrdn has added the word ‘sustainable’ to the names of 13 of its funds, following the launch of its new sustainability leadership group. The changes to the names of equity and fixed income strategies won’t have a substantial impact on the companies they are investing in. ‘Because of the long-standing integration of ESG assessment within our investment approach, these changes will not result in material changes to portfolios,’ a spokesperson for the company said.

UBS Global Wealth Management has formed a new group that will offer investment strategies driven by diversity and inclusion values that aim to generate financial returns as well as promote societal change. The sustainable and inclusive investing solutions group will provide the firm’s financial advisors with a platform that includes investment products from asset managers with diverse ownership and portfolio management teams.

Around 1,200 Quilter clients received 10% portfolio drop notifications on Friday due to a technical error on Quilter’s platform. In an email sent to Advisers on 8 April, Quilter apologised after a temporary technical issue led to approximately 1,200 clients receiving 10% portfolio drop notifications, despite them having lost no money.

A former employee of advice firm Alexander Sloan Financial Planning has won an employment tribunal case against the firm after his salary was suspended during an FCA investigation. The case, which resulted in Alexander Sloan having to pay out £140,000, centered around a two-year FCA investigation into the firm, which meant it did not have the funds to continue paying wages.

EQ Investors is opening a South Coast office in Brighton, headed by Executive Director and Chartered Financial Planner Jeannie Boyle. The branch will be located at Citibase in the Round Hill area of Brighton.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Private equity house Nordic Capital has signed a deal to acquire national advice firm Ascot Lloyd. The advice firm currently has £10bn of Assets Under Influence and 20,000 clients. Nordic Capital has not disclosed how much it will pay to complete the deal, but the big winners will be private equity company Oaktree Capital Management. It has invested in the UK advice sector since 2013 through Bellpenny. In 2017 it merged Bellpenny with Ascot Lloyd. 

Tatton Asset Management has entered into a deal to buy 50% of shares in 8AM Global Limited for £7m. The agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, gives wealth consolidator Tatton the option to acquire the further 50% of the firm at a later date. Investment manager 8AM is primarily focused on managed portfolio services (MPS) and a small range of multi-manager funds. The firm has £800m in Assets Under Management (AUM), which will be added to Tatton’s existing client assets of £11.3bn.

Schroders has completed its acquisition of a 75% stake in renewable infrastructure specialist Greencoat Capital in a £358m deal first announced in December. Greencoat will be integrated into the company’s Private Markets division, Schroders Capital. Established in 2009, Greencoat is one of Europe’s largest investors in its sector with £6.8bn in assets under management (AUM).

Saltus has acquired Bushey-based IFA firm NSL Wealth for an undisclosed sum. NSL currently has £160m in Assets Under Management (AUM), with the purchase taking Saltus’ assets to above £2bn. The move follows Saltus’ acquisition of Farnham-based firm Fish Financial in September.

NatWest is weighing a bid for Tilney Smith & Williamson (TSW), whose Private Equity Owners are beginning to court potential buyers in a deal expected to be valued between £2.5bn and £3bn.

Movers & Shakers

Kingswood has hired Christopher Calvocoressi to lead its technology transformation agenda and develop its online portal, Kingswood Go. Calvocoressi joins from Schroders Personal Wealth, where he spent nearly two years as a Programme Manager, focusing on technology transformation.

Five senior hires have joined Hargreaves Lansdown’s investment team. Robert Farago, Stephen Barnett, John Page, Ziad Abou Gergi and Thomas Wells will join the Asset Manager ahead of the company’s 19 upcoming fund launches, due to take place over the next two years.

Stonehage Fleming has appointed Partner Richard Stride to Head of its private office in Jersey and recruited Standard Bank trust specialist Bruce Sinclair to the team. Stride has worked for the business since 2007 and previously headed its private office in Johannesburg, before moving to the island in 2017. He will take over from Ana Ventura who will remain with the company as a Trustee and Adviser.

Guy Monson is stepping down as Sarasin & Partners’ Chief Investment Officer. After more than 14 years in the position, he will become the investment manager’s chief market strategist. In his stead, Sarasin has promoted Jerry Thomas and Phil Collins to Chief Investment Officers for global equities and multi-asset respectively.

Brown Shipley has continued its hiring spree from rival Barclays Wealth, with the appointment of Mark Flynn as Head of Scotland. Flynn had worked at Barclays for close to 14 years. During that time, he was Head of Private Banking for Scotland and Northern Ireland and was responsible for the Aberdeen office prior to that.

Wealth management and corporate broking group Oberon Investments has appointed Adam Pollock as a Director. Pollock previously worked as Head of Corporate and Institutional Broking at WH Ireland. He joined the company in 2017, where he led capital markets and broking teams for five years.

Quilter Cheviot has appointed three new hires at its Dublin-based European business. William McDonald, Patrick Good, and Tom O’Dea will join the Dublin office. McDonald has been appointed as Investment Manager, having previously held senior positions within both Appian Asset Management and Canaccord Genuity. Joining him will be Good and O’Dea as financial planners - O’Dea held various positions in PwC for almost eight years and Good joins from Kennelly Tax Advisers, where he worked as a Tax Adviser for private clients, focusing on advisory and compliance.

Lazard Asset Management Chief Executive Ashish Bhutani is retiring after nearly two decades with the group and will be replaced by Chief Financial Officer Evan Russo. Bhutani will leave his position and step down from the board of Directors of Lazard Ltd and Lazard Group on 1 June. He will continue to serve as Chairman of Asset Management and as Vice-Chairman of Lazard until the end of the year.

Killik & Co has promoted Georgie Killik, daughter of company Founder Paul Killik and current Head of Innovation, to Deputy Senior Partner. She has worked at the firm for more than a decade, having joined its family office team in 2011, and has since worked in business development roles.

Rothschild has hired trust and estate planning veteran David Kilshaw as Managing Director and Head of Private Client Wealth Solutions in its UK wealth business. Kilshaw previously worked as Head of Private Client Tax at KPMG and Head of Family Office at Ernst & Young. He was granted a Society of Trust and Estate Planner’s lifetime achievement award in 2018.

Aviva has appointed Charlotte Jones as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) following the resignation in January of former CFO Jason Windsor. Jones, who will also become an Executive Director at the business, will take over as CFO from 5 September, subject to regulatory approval. Aviva Canada CFO Colin Simpson will act as interim CFO until then.

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