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Financial Services Newsletter - Friday 29th July 2022

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Financial Services News

​Profits at Rathbones fell by more than a fifth in the first half of the year, as the firm spent on upgrading its digital capabilities. Underlying profit before tax at the wealth and fund group fell to £50m for the six months to the end of June, from £62.9m for the same period last year, as operating costs rose by £32m, or 20.8%, to £182m. Its acquisition of Saunderson House also impacted profit.

St James’s Place (SJP) suffered a £12bn fall in assets under management in the first half of the year. The wealth giant attributed the decline to the significant reversal in market sentiment, which left assets under management sitting at £142.3bn on 30 June. The decline is a blow to CEO Andrew Croft’s ambitions of hitting £200bn by 2025.

​Boutique wealth and corporate broking group Oberon Investments has grown its assets by 80% over a year after an initial public offering in 2021 generated more leads for the firm. In its annual results to the end of March, Oberon’s assets under management (AUM) boomed, from £550m to more than £1bn.

​WH Ireland’s share price has come under pressure after its annual trading update presented a mixed picture. The firm reported underlying losses of £248,000 for its wealth division in the year to March, a widening from the £79,000 registered in 2021. Client assets in the arm stood still at £1.6bn. 

​Julius Baer suffered a sharp drop in profits in the first half volatility. In what the Swiss private bank described as ‘one of the worst six-month periods for capital markets in decades’, Julius Baer saw profit fall 26% to CHF 451m (£390m) in the first half. Assets under management sunk by CHF 54bn to CHF 428bn. The firm said the decrease was driven by the significant corrections in global equity and bond markets.

​Brewin Dolphin’s assets under management fell 8.2% to £45.2bn in the three months to the end of June as volatile markets took their toll on its portfolios. In a stock market update, the group reported it lost £4.7bn due to negative investment performance amid the harsh macroeconomic environment. It still managed to gain £100m in net inflows over the period, however.

Evelyn Partners has set up shop in Brighton. The firm, which recently rebranded from Tilney Smith & Williamson and controls £55.8bn in assets under management, said it would be ‘the only top-10 UK Wealth Manager to have an office in Brighton’.

Sanlam Wealth is rebranding to Atomos later this year following a takeover by Private Equity firm Oaktree Capital Management.

Brooks Macdonald’s positive inflow run has extended to a fifth quarter, although its assets under management have taken a big hit in the market volatility. The wealth management firm pulled in £300m in the three months to the end of June, lifting its net flow rate on an annualised basis up to 6.7%.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has authorised the charging of former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone with fraud by false representation following a probe by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC claims Ecclestone failed to declare assets held overseas worth in excess of £400m to the tax office. The CPS has now authorised a charge and started criminal proceedings against Ecclestone, with the first hearing in the case to be held at 10am on 22 August at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Abrdn (ABDN) is returning the proceeds of the sale of a 4% stake in Insurer and Pensions provider Phoenix Group (PHNX), worth £300m, to shareholders. Abrdn announced it is beginning the process of the share repurchase programme, which is taking place in two instalments.

In further news...Abrdn is gearing up to sell its Private Equity funds business as part of Chief Executive Stephen Bird’s efforts to streamline the business. Investment bankers at Rothschild have been appointed to find a buyer for the division, which runs about £13bn, the report said, citing City sources

Kingswood has eight more deals in the pipeline, while its revenue rocketed in 2021 after a series of acquisitions bore fruit. In the year to December, revenue shot up 488% to a record £149.7m, from £25.5m in the prior year – primarily due to UK acquisitions in 2020 and 2021 and the growth of Kingswood’s US division.

Schroders has bought a minority stake in blockchain- and digital-focused asset management firm Forteus. Forteus is a division of Numeus Group, which is based in the heart of Swiss ‘crypto valley’ Zug and has offices in London and New York.

Mergers & Acquisitions

​Investec Wealth & Investment has purchased Edinburgh-based Murray Asset Management for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition of the Wealth Manager will see the transfer of its team of 20 staff to Investec Wealth & Investment.

Wealth Manager Saltus Group has acquired London-based IFA Higgins Fairbairn Advisory for an undisclosed sum. The partner-funded purchase will see Saltus’ assets under management jump to £2.3bn. Higgins Fairbairn Director Gianpaolo Mantini will join Saltus as a Partner, and all the firm’s staff will join the Wealth Manager across its London and regional UK offices.

Progeny has made 2 acquisitions this month, boosting its Scottish footprint through the acquisition of Balmoral Asset Management (BAM) and setting their sights on global expansion with the purchase of international advice firm, The Fry Group. The deal for the Edinburgh-based Adviser, the value of which was not disclosed, lifts Progeny’s assets under management beyond the £6.5bn mark.

Titan Wealth Holdings has acquired the Poole-based Discretionary Fund Manager, Baggette Asset Management, for an undisclosed fee. The acquisition, which includes Baggette’s Mazarin fund of funds range, lifts Titan’s assets under management to around the £5.2bn mark.

Movers & Shakers

Investec Wealth & Investment UK has appointed a new CEO in an executive restructure at the business. Barbara-Ann King will replace Ciaran Whelan, who has led the business since April 2020. He played a key role in integrating the UK wealth arm into the wider South African-based bank as part of the group’s strategic ambition to simplify its business model. Whelan will remain as a managing director of the Investec group and sit on the wealth arm’s executive board. King joined Investec as Chief Commercial Officer in 2020 and has been serving as Deputy Chief Executive on the wealth business. She has 25 years’ experience, which includes a seven-year stint with Citi in New York and eight years with Barclays Wealth in London.

Katherine Davidson is leaving Schroders after 14 years with the Asset Manager. Davidson, who joined Schroders as a graduate in 2008, oversaw three funds covering sustainability-focused opportunities in global equities. A spokesperson for Schroders said Davidson decided to leave the company to pursue an opportunity outside the group, driven in part by a lifestyle change. It is understood she will stay in fund management.

Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) has added two senior figures to its investment research team. Derren Nathan has been appointed Head of Equity Research, joining from corporate Brokers Hybridan, where he was Director of Research. He is joined by Hal Cook, who arrives from Mercer where he oversaw fund selection for the investment consultant’s private wealth discretionary management service. Cook’s, who had an eight-year stint with JLT Investment Management before Mercer, joins the business as a Senior Investment Analyst.

Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management (CGWM) UK has appointed a new Head of Equity Fund Research. The firm has promoted Analyst Kamal Warraich to the role, which he will undertake from the company’s Llandudno office in North Wales.

Kingswood has hired Jessica McGuigan as a Wealth Planner in its office in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. McGuigan joins from a six-month stint at a national firm, where she was a Personal Wealth Adviser. Prior to that, she worked at Critchleys for more than six years, working her way up to the role of Financial Planner after starting as an Administrator.

Evelyn Partners has made a number of appointments in July. Furthering its expansion into the Southwest with the appointment of Matt Dickinson as Investment Manager. Dickinson has a decade’s worth of experience as an Investment Manager. He joins Evelyn from Walker Crips, where he worked as an Investment Manager for seven years. Continuing to expand its London office with the appointment of Oliver Robson as an Investment Director. Robson, with more than 11 years of experience within multi-asset investment and private banking, joins Evelyn Partners from Quartet Investment Managers. Expanding their reach in the East of England, Evelyn Partners has appointed Catherine Glennon as Financial Planner in their Cambridge office. Glennon has 17 years’ industry experience advising clients across financial planning needs ranging from wealth accumulation to estate planning. Equilibrium Financial Consultancy Founder and Owner Callan Anderson has joined the firm’s Glasgow office as part of its succession programme. Finally, Nick Reeves has returned to Evelyn Partners four years after leaving the business to head Deutsche Bank’s UK financial planning arm. Reeves joins Evelyn, which recently rebranded from Tilney Smith & Williamson, as a Partner within its London team.

Alena Kosava has joined AJ Bell as Head of Investment Research. Kosava replaces Ryan Hughes, who has been promoted to Head of Investment Partnerships, where he will focus on the company’s managed portfolio service (MPS) for advised clients. Kosava joins after a 14-month stint with Ascot Lloyd’s fund management division, Avellemy, where she worked as Head of Collectives. She left the business shortly after Private Equity House Nordic Capital signed a deal to acquire Ascot Lloyd.

Abrdn is merging its UK and European equity arms into a single unit, leading to the loss of a handful of roles. European Equity Head Ben Ritchie will lead the 20-strong team, with UK Equity Head Andrew Millington assuming a new role as Head of Equity Research and Investment Process. Kay Eyre, Manager of the Standard Life European Equity Pension fund, and Jonathan Allison, Manager of the Abrdn European Sustainable Equity fund, are among those leaving. European Equity Manager Jonathan Fearon and Investment Analyst Peter Silver are also leaving the business. All four reported to Investment Director Lesley Duncan, who is also exiting the business. Duncan managed the UK Ethical Equity and the UK Sustainable and Responsible Investment Equity funds. 

Chris Fautley has stepped down as Chair of Quilter’s national advice business. Fautley was appointed Chair of Quilter Financial Advisers in January 2020 following Quilter’s acquisition of advice firm Charles Derby, for which he was CEO.

Investec Wealth has bolstered its Guildford branch with the appointment of Faye Church from Close Brothers Asset Management. Church, who has 20 years’ experience, will provide her client base across Surrey, West Sussex and London with inheritance tax planning and retirement planning.

Cazenove Capital has hired Stephen Wilson as a Portfolio Director for the North East region. Wilson joins from UBS, where he spent five years based in the group’s Leeds office, working with clients across the North of England.

Quilter has appointed Jenny Davidson, former Global Head of Wealthtech Solutions at Abrdn, as its new Head of Strategic Propositions.

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