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Financial Services Newsletter - Friday 3rd February 2023

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Financial Services News

​The FTSE 100 is closing in on a new record after easing inflation in the US and Europe, and a strong batch of corporate updates extended the positive start to the year. The blue-chip benchmark added 0.1%, or 10 points, rising to 7,854, not far from the record high of 7,903 set in May 2018. Investors were cheered by hopes that inflation has peaked, particularly in the US, following an encouraging set of data last week that showed inflation fell to its lowest level in a year in December at 6.5%. This has given hope that the US Federal Reserve will ease its aggressive monetary policy tightening. It has gained 4% this year after an essentially flat performance last year. (Michelle McGagh, 16/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'FTSE close to record high as investors eye optimistic UK')

National advice firm Evelyn Partners has said its operating income rose last year to a record level of £600m in a bumper year that saw the firm attract £5.4bn in new business. In a quarterly trading update today (31 January), the firm said group operating income in fourth quarter stands at £158.6m, up 9.8% from £144.5m in the same period last year. (Momodou Musa Touray, 31/1/2023, money marketing, 'Evelyn Partners sees income rise to record level of £600m')

Private equity-backed Dynamic Planner has entered into a long-term agreement with Quilter Financial Planning. Quilter Advisers will have access to everything in the IFA software business’s ‘one system’, including psychometric risk and sustainability profiling, investment progress reviews, cashflow modelling and digital client access, recommendations and research. (James Fitzgerald, 18/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Dynamic Planner signs up Quilter to long-term deal')

M&G Wealth has teamed up with digital wealth manager Moneyfarm to launch a new investment service: &me. The investing app is designed to help people feel more confident in their investing decisions. Clients can call or chat right from the app or book a video meeting with a dedicated &me consultant. (Lois Vallely, 31/1/2023, money marketing, 'M&G Wealth launches new digital investment app with Moneyfarm')

Investment platform Transact has partnered with Winterflood Business Services (WBS) to integrate its automated electronic dealing solution. By doing this, Transact clients will have access to more counterparties and liquidity in the majority of listed stocks across Europe, as well as broad coverage of US, Canadian and Asian liquid stocks. (Lois Vallely, 19/1/2023, money marketing, 'Transact teams up with WBS to expand offering')

​A Portsmouth-based IFA has been banned from carrying out regulated activity by the FCA after more than £2m of unauthorised withdrawals were made from clients’ platform accounts. Nexus Independent Financial Advisers and Nexus Investment Managers have had asset restrictions placed on them and been ordered to stop all regulatory activity. In a final supervisory notice published today, the FCA said it has imposed the restrictions after it discovered that between September 2021 and December last year, £2.1m was withdrawn from the firms’ client accounts in ad-hoc advice fee payments. (James Fitzgerald, 31/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Portsmouth IFA director makes £2m in unauthorised client fee withdrawals')

​Bath-based adviser Richard Webb has been charged with 29 counts of fraud totalling more than £5m. Webb, 64, is accused of defrauding more than 20 victims of £5,032,770 in what the crown prosecution service called a Ponzi scheme, according to a report on regional news site Wiltshire999S. (Zachariah Sharif, 25/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Bath adviser charged with £5m 'Ponzi scheme' fraud')

Personal Finance Society (PFS) board member Vanessa Barnes was one of about 150 PFS members whose chartered status was rescinded on the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) public database due to a system error in August. The discovery came less than 24 hours after she had sent an email to the CII Chair refuting the Institute’s recent accusations about governance failures on the PFS board. A CII spokesperson said: ‘We are sorry a system error that affected the Chartered status of around 150 members, including Vanessa Barnes, occurred last summer, and affected members were contacted." (James Fitzgerald, 11/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, '150 members lose chartered status after CII system error')

The government has set out plans to regulate crypto assets as it seeks to provide confidence and clarity to both consumers and businesses alike. The plans will seek to regulate a broad suite of cryptoasset activities in line with other regulated financial markets. Under the proposals, crypto trading platforms will bear responsibility for defining the detailed content requirements for admission and disclosure documents. (Momodou Musa Touray, 31/1/2023, money marketing, 'UK sets out plans to regulate crypto assets')

​Aviva will launch a new capability to help Advisers model the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) profile of funds for client portfolios. It enables Advisers to see how the investments in their clients’ portfolios perform against the ESG themes. Aviva added the ESG tool to its platform in October 2021 with six ESG preferences. Last year, it added air pollution and corporate governance to the ESG preferences, bringing the total to nine.(Jean-Baptiste Andrieux, 27/1/2023, money marketing, 'Aviva to deliver new capabilities for platform ESG tool')

​Quilter Chief Executive Steven Levin has praised the “robust performance” of its high-net worth business in a trading update. This offset the slowdown in fund flows coming from Quilter’s advice arm towards the end of last year. A fourth quarter 2022 trading statement published this morning (25 January) shows how the wealth manager is doing. (Michael Klimes, 25/1/2023, money marketing, 'Quilter CEO flags high net worth arm robustness')

​The consultation on the future direction of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) has been extended. PFS interim Chief Executive Officer Don MacIntyre announced the development in a webinar about the consultation. It was called after the CII announced the appointment three new institute Directors to the PFS board on 21 December. (Jean-Baptiste Andrieux, 20/1/2023, money marketing, 'Consultation period for PFS board takeover extended')

Life insurer Vitality has been praised for partnering with global tech giant Apple to promote physical activity and better health for customers. Vitality Active Rewards provides members with incentives for attaining weekly physical activity goals. Members’ premiums are defined by the level of activity recorded via their Apple Watch. (Momodou Musa Touray, 19/1/2023, money marketing, 'Vitality’s health partnership with Apple lauded')

Titan Wealth Holdings and LEBC/Aspira have announced a new strategic partnership. The tie-up will allow Titan Asset Management – part of Titan Wealth Holdings – to develop its investment proposition and manage the LEBC/Aspira model portfolio service investments. Established in 2000, LEBC/Aspira Group has become a driving force within the independent financial advisory and employee benefits sector.(Lois Vallely, 23/1/2023, money marketing, 'Titan Wealth and LEBC tie up for investment offering')

Embark Group has launched a paraplanning resource hub for Paraplanners to better serve their businesses. The Paraplanner Room has a range of resources specifically tailored to assist Paraplanners. The first edition covers how Paraplanners will be vital to helping their firms deal with the demands of the new Consumer Duty as well as what they think about their role today. (Momodou Musa Touray, 10/1/2023, money marketing, 'Embark launches paraplanning resource hub')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​Financial Planning-focused consolidator Radiant Financial Group has continued its recent expansion spree with a deal to boost its presence in the North by acquiring Doncaster-based Ethos Financial Solutions. Private equity-funded Radiant has acquired the assets and goodwill of Ethos Financial Solutions, which has £300m in AUA, for an undisclosed sum. Radiant will also acquire Ethos’ 18 members of staff, including 5 Advisers. (Financial Planning Today Reporter, 2/2/2023, Financial Planning Today, 'Radiant expands in North with Yorkshire acquisition')

​Consolidator Fairstone has bought Mantle Financial Planning for an undisclosed sum, adding more than £450m in funds under management to the group. The deal, which is Fairstone’s first acquisition in the year, brings 11 Advisers,16 staff as well as more than 2000 clients into the group. (Momodou Musa Touray, 1/2/2023, money marketing, 'Fairstone buys IFA firm with £450m FUM')

​HFMC Wealth has acquired City-based R&S Financial Planning Ltd, in a deal which further strengthens its London office. The deal will add around £680,000 of annual recurring revenue to HFMC Wealth, and assets under advice of £145m. The average client size is £1.2m, which marries perfectly with HFMC Wealth’s high-net-worth proposition. (Lois Vallely, 17/1/2023, money marketing, 'HFMC Wealth bolsters London office with new purchase')

Perspective Financial Group has purchased Thame-based Ian J Hunt Chartered Financial Planners, adding £37m in assets under management (AUM) and bringing in 70 clients. The private equity-backed consolidator has also secured a further eight acquisitions, pending FCA approval. (Zachariah Sharif, 23/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Perspective buys £37m Oxford IFA ahead of acquisition spree')

Platform business Nucleus has reached a deal to acquire listed Sipp provider Curtis Banks. The all-cash deal is for £242m, or 350p per share, a 32.1% premium to Curtis Banks’ closing price before it became known the pair had entered talks. (Chloe Meley, 6/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Nucleus buys Curtis Banks in £242m deal')

Consolidator Skerritts has acquired Kent-based IFA Equinox Wealth as it seeks to expand its presence in the South East. The Hove-based advice firm received £55m in investment from private equity firm Sovereign Capital Partners in March 2021 to boost its growth via acquisitions. Following the backing, Skerritts completed four advice deals in 2021, increasing assets under management by £560m to around £1.5bn. This latest acquisition will add a further 120 clients and £62m in assets.(Zachariah Sharif, 5/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Skerritts uses PE investment to snap up Kent IFA')

Wealth management group Titan Wealth has acquired Midlands-based IFA Telford Mann, adding £700m in assets under management (AUM). Telford Mann specialises in Pensions and Investment advice, and serves 3,500 clients from its office in Kettering. Joint Managing Directors Jon Telford and Jilly Mann will remain with the company for two more years.(Zachariah Sharif, 3/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Titan Wealth kicks off 2023 with £700m IFA buy')

WestBridge Group has rebranded and completed its acquisition of Rowanmoor’s small self-administered schemes (SSAS) book. It will now be called WBR Group to reflect the larger business after the acquisition of Rowanmoor’s SSAS arm last December. The group is head quartered in Leicester and following completion now has offices in Bolton and Salisbury providing support to clients across the UK. (Michael Klimes, 30/1/2023, money marketing, 'WestBridge rebrands and completes Rowanmoor SSAS acquisition')

​Evelyn Partners is looking to acquire more advice and professional services businesses, the firm’s CEO Chris Woodhouse has said. In an unaudited trading update for the three months to 31 December 2022, Woodhouse said the firm continues to ‘explore opportunities’ to acquire new businesses and is ‘continuing to hire new talent’ as it seeks to maintain its ‘growth trajectory’. (Robin Amos, 31/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Evelyn Partners on the hunt for more advice buys')


Sir Nigel Wilson is to step down as Chief Executive of Legal & General after more than a decade in the role. He will continue as Chief Executive until a successor is appointed. The L&G board has commenced a rigorous process to appoint a successor considering both internal and external candidates. The 66-year-old former McKinsey Consultant has been praised for delivering a consistently strong financial performance with a total shareholder return of over 600% driven by significant growth in dividends, earnings per share and ROE. (Momodou Musa Touray, 30/1/2023, money marketing, 'L&G chief executive Nigel Wilson steps down')

In further news...Legal & General Retail has appointed Mark Jones as Product and Proposition Director for its annuities offering. Jones was previously Product Director for Legal & General Retail’s protection business. (Momodou Musa Touray, 23/1/2023, money marketing, 'Legal & General Retail appoints product and propositions director')

Fidelity International (Fidelity) has appointed Dennis Pellerito as the new Head of UK Wholesale. Pellerito will succeed John Clougherty who announced his decision to retire at the end of last year. Pellerito joined Fidelity in 2013 and was most recently Director of the UK Strategic Account team. (Jean-Baptiste Andrieux, 27/1/2023, money marketing, 'Fidelity International appoints head of UK wholesale')

Scottish Friendly has appointed Stephen Campbell as Chief Operating Officer. Campbell has over 25 years’ experience within the financial services industry with extensive knowledge of delivering large-scale and complex solutions to improve performance across technology. (Momodou Musa Touray, 18/1/2023, money marketing, 'Scottish Friendly appoints Stephen Campbell as chief operating officer')

Rathbones Group has appointed Anne-Marie McConnon to its newly created role of Chief Client Officer. She will also be a member of the group’s executive committee. McConnon, an internationally experienced Investment Marketer whose career spans more than 25 years, will join Rathbones from BNY Mellon Investment Management. (Momodou Musa Touray, 17/1/2023, money marketing, 'Rathbones appoints Anne-Marie McConnon as chief client officer')

AJ Bell has hired James Flintoft as a Portfolio Manager on its multi-asset investment team. Flintoff was Head of Investments at Newcastle-based Vertem Asset Management, where he lead the firm’s investment team and model portfolio proposition. (Robin Amos, 1/2/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'AJ Bell hires Vertem MPS head as portfolio manager')

The Quilter Foundation, the charity arm of wealth management group Quilter, has appointed Jennifer Piper as its new Manager. She joins the Foundation after working with organisations in the charity sector internationally, including youth-oriented, non-governmental organisation JM International and South London-based Msizi Africa, which provides children in Lesotho with nutritious food. (Olivia Bybel, 1/2/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Quilter appoints strategy boss for charity arm')

Three senior members of the Brooks Macdonald management team have resigned from the business. In a stock exchange announcement, the wealth firm said Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ben Thorpe and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Lynsey Cross had left the board with immediate effect. Chief Risk Officer (CRO) Priti Verma is leaving the firm. Verma, who oversaw compliance, financial crime, investment risk and internal audit activities, joined Brooks in 2018 from Smith & Williamson. (Dylan Lobo, 19/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Brooks Macdonald CFO, COO and risk boss exit')

In further news...Brooks Macdonald’s Chief Risk Officer (CRO) Priti Verma is joining wealth rival Quilter. Verma will replace Nick Sacre-Hardy, who has been acting CRO of Quilter since Matt Burton stepped back in 2022 due to health reasons. She will take up her new position in the third quarter, joining the firm’s executive management team. Verma joined Brooks from Smith & Williamson in 2018. She has also held senior risk management roles at Schroders, Aviva Investors and Pictet Asset Management. (Dylan Lobo, 27/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Quilter hires Brooks Macdonald chief risk officer')

​Charles Stanley has hired four Advisers, including two from wealth management rivals, as it eyes growth in the North. The firm now has 35 Financial Planners across 23 offices around the UK working alongside the company’s 169 investment managers on high-net-worth clients. Stephen Hughes joins from Schroders Personal Wealth, a joint venture between the fund house and Lloyds. Harry Bell, previously at Close Brothers Asset Management, has joined as a Director at Charles Stanley’s Manchester office. John Moseley has joined from Allotts Chartered Accountants, where he was an Adviser. As well as the hires in the North, Gary Quick has joined as an Adviser from Francis Clark Financial Planning. Quick is an investment specialist and brings more than 20 years of industry experience. He’ll be based at the firm’s Exeter office. (Zachariah Sharif, 19/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Charles Stanley aims to be king in the North with adviser hires')

Evelyn Partners has set its sights on Edinburgh and Aberdeen after making a senior hire from Investec Wealth & Investment. David Rankin joins the business as Managing Partner, overseeing the firm’s wealth proposition across the two cities and feeding into its wider push across Scotland. He brings around 30 years’ wealth experience with him. He was most recently a senior wealth planning Director at Investec’s Edinburgh office, where he specialised in protecting family wealth and advising clients following business sales.(Robin Amos, 12/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Evelyn hires Edinburgh and Aberdeen boss from Investec')

The Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (Pimfa) has appointed Rathbones CEO Paul Stockton and The Openwork Partnership Managing Director (MD) Stuart Dodson to its board of directors. Stockton has been CEO at Rathbones since May 2019, after spending 10 years as Group Finance Director. Dodson joined Openwork in February 2022 as MD. He joined from Newcastle Building Society, where he had spent eight years as MD. (Zachariah Sharif, 9/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Pimfa appoints Rathbones CEO and Openwork MD to board')

Close Brothers Asset Management (CBAM) has hired Simon Long as an Investment Director. He has 20 years of experience in the industry, starting his investment career at Brewin Dolphin in 2003 as a Trainee Investment Manager. (Caroline Hug, 9/1/2023, CityWire Wealth Manager, 'Close Brothers hires Investec veteran to Birmingham office')

All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from Financial Planning Today, money marketing and CityWire Wealth Manager.