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Financial Services Newsletter Friday 4th August 2023

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Financial Services News

Julius Baer plans to open a new branch in the north of England this year as part of wider international push to increase its footprint. The plan was revealed by the private bank’s CEO in a webcast accompanying a first-half results update from the private bank. The decision comes after the firm relocated to a new office in London with a reduced carbon footprint. Julius Baer has added 57 relationship managers to its headcount so far this year, increasing the overall number of client advisers to 1,305. Overall, the firm currently boasts 7,178 full-time employees – a 4% increase from the end of 2022. (Margaryta Kirakosian, 24/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Julius Baer plans new northern UK branch as it pulls in billions')

​Raymond James’ UK business reported a 50% boost to its profits last year, despite assets falling £1bn due to choppy market performance. In the year to the end of September 2022, the wealth firm reported pre-tax profits of £6.9m, up from £4.6m in the previous year. Turnover amounted to £81.3m – a 21% boost on 2021’s figure. However, the firm said that its assets under management (AUM) had been under pressure from market volatility in 2022, with AUM dropping 7% to £13.9bn. (John Schaffer, 19/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Raymond James UK profits boosted 50% despite £1bn asset squeeze')

​Abrdn has recognised a £28.4m write-down in its financial planning business after losses and outflows increased last year. Financial statements filed with Companies House for the holding company behind the advice arm revealed the value of Abrdn Financial Planning and Advice, formerly known as 1825, was written down from £105.9m to £77.5m following a £28.4m impairment charge. The impairment was attributed to ‘the impact of macroeconomic conditions, markets, the level of 2022 profitability, and outflows on valuation expectations for the business’ in the financial statements. (Zachariah Sharif, 1/8/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Abrdn hit by £28m write-down on advice arm')

WH Ireland has raised £5m through an emergency placing following talks with the FCA over a potential wind-up, while its CEO has agreed to a 30% pay cut. In its initial announcement, posted at 7am, the firm said it was seeking the capital injection from investors after adverse trading conditions had hit the business hard. In a subsequent announcement at 8.53am, the firm said it had successfully closed the placing, which was supported by its largest shareholder TFG Asset Management and a number of contracts-for-difference counterparties. (Dylan Lobo, 28/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'WH Ireland seeks £5m to avert collapse after FCA talks')

​AJ Bell’s platform assets reached a milestone of £69.8bn at the end of June as client inflows amounted to another £1bn during Q3. In a trading update, the investment platform also reported that assets under management for its AJ Bell investments arm had risen 10% to £4.3bn over the three month period. Chief Executive Michael Summersgill said the growth in platform assets means that they ‘now stand at a record high’. (John Schaffer, 20/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'AJ Bell platform assets reach ‘record high’ but IFA clients are nervy')

Funds under management (FUM) at Brooks Macdonald rose slightly in the three months to the end of June as the group saw continued net inflows. The impact of a 0.3% hit to investment performance in the quarter was offset by positive net flows of £100m. The firm’s discretionary UK investment management business took in £200m and saw overall FUM rise 1.5%, while its smaller platform MPS and B2B Investment Solutions reported combined annualised net flows of 38%. (Robin Amos, 13/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Brooks Macdonald assets tick up on £100m quarterly inflow')

​National independent financial adviser firm Continuum has seen assets under advice increase by almost a fifth to over £1.81bn. Continuum’s Q2 2023 results showed a 19% rise in assets under advice, as well as a 14% increase in financial advisers numbers to 67. The IFA firm also “strengthened” its adviser support via an increase in its paraplanning and central administration teams. (Darius McQuaid, 25/7/2023, Money Marketing, 'Continuum sees advised assets increase by 19% to over £1.8bn')

Workers at Manchester-based Pareto Financial Planning have raised more than £1.2m for charity in the last nine years. Since its founding in 2008, Parento has grown to employ more than 70 at its Spinningfields headquarters and now has more than £1bn of client funds under influence. But it has also kept community and charity work as an important part of its philosophy and supported numerous local and national projects. (Financial Planning Today Reporter, 18/7/2023, Financial Planning Today, 'Manchester Planner firm staff raise £1.2m for charity')

Mergers & Acquisitions

​The merger of Rathbones and Investec Wealth & Investments has received the all-clear from the regulators and is now set to complete in September. The combination will create what the businesses have dubbed ‘the UK’s leading discretionary wealth manager’ with around £100bn of funds under management, and represents a major step forward in industry-wide consolidation. In market announcements this morning, both businesses reported that all regulatory clearances connected with the all-share merger, which was announced in April, had been received. (Jeremy Gordon, 2/8/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Rathbones and Investec W&I get green light for September merger')

​Evelyn Partners has continued its expansion into the North West of England, with a deal to bring the team of boutique wealth firm Millen Capital into the fold. Millen Capital was established in Liverpool in 1999 by Angus Millen, to provide a wealth management service to professionals and business owners. The team of five from Millen are set to join Evelyn’s Liverpool office as part of its succession planning scheme for business owners launched in 2021. The value of Millen Capital’s assets has not been disclosed. Joining Evelyn alongside Angus Millen are Financial Planner Gareth Lyttle, Chartered Wealth Manager Vicki Harper, and Administrators Linda O’Neill and Ruby Leigh. (Christopher Johnson, 1/8/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Evelyn Partners inks deal for Liverpool wealth team')

​Fund manager Marlborough Group has taken a minority shareholding in national advice firm Truly Independent for an undisclosed sum. The purchase expands its investments into the UK adviser market. Carlisle-headquartered Truly Independent has 70 self-employed advisers and four employed advisers across the country, with £1.5bn in assets under advice. Companies House filings show the stake purchased is above 25% but below 50%. Unaudited abridged accounts for the year to 31 October 2022 do not disclose Truly Independent’s revenues or profits. (Zachariah Sharif, 28/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Marlborough takes stake in £1.5bn Carlisle advice firm')

​Schroders-owned advice group Benchmark Capital has acquired Swindon-based Unique Financial Planning, an appointed representative of Openwork, bringing in £755m in assets under advice. Restricted advice firm Unique, which has 32 advisers, was set up in 1991 by CEO Stewart Williams, who is also the biggest shareholder in the firm. In 2018, Nucleus co-founder Philip Martin joined Unique as managing director and is a minority shareholder in the firm. (Zachariah Sharif, 20/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Benchmark snaps up one of Openwork’s biggest advice firms')

​Lumin Wealth has acquired Essex-based financial advice firm, The Big Picture Wealth Management. The Lumin Group will gain £85m in AUM through the acquisition. The Big Picture’s joint Directors, Jonathan Clark and Ian Sedgwick, will both join Lumin along with their support team. According to Clark, there was a ‘long list of interested acquirers’ of the business and that Lumin’s ‘personal approach’ to financial planning was what sealed the deal. (Olivia Bybel, 4/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Lumin Wealth acquires Essex advice firm')

​National advice firm One Four Nine has acquired Rainbird & Co, a financial advice firm based near Plymouth and first established in 1997. The deal marks One Four Nine’s eighth acquisition since launch and expands its nationwide footprint into the Southwest. It is the first acquisition announced since new Chief Executive Gabrielle Beaumont took the reins on the 4th of July. (Lois Vallely, 11/7/2023, Money Marketing, 'One Four Nine makes first acquisition under new CEO')

​The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an inquiry into the proposed acquisition of Curtis Banks by Nucleus Financial Platforms. The takeover deal, which was announced on the 6th of January, was put to Curtis Banks shareholders for approval. Under the terms of the acquisition, Nucleus will pay Curtis Banks shareholders 350 pence in cash per share, a 32.1% premium to the closing price before the commencement of the offer period. This represents a total equity value for Curtis Banks of approximately £242m on a fully diluted basis. The CMA has said it is considering whether the transaction will result in a “substantial lessening of competition” within the market. (Lois Vallely, 19/7/2023, Money Marketing, 'CMA to probe Nucleus’s £242m takeover of Curtis Banks')

George Square Financial Management has acquired fellow Nottingham-based Financial Planning firm Taylor McGill. The deal for an undisclosed sum will see George Square add 250 private clients and an Adviser to its team. Taylor McGill has been providing bespoke Financial Planning services since it was founded in 1991 by Simon Taylor and Gerry McGill. Daniel Taylor, also joined the team in 2008 in an administration capacity, before becoming a Financial Planner for the firm on completion of his qualifications in 2013. (Financial Planning Today Reporter, 2/8/2023, Financial Planning Today, 'Nottingham Planner acquires local IFA')

Fintech and support services firm Fintel, the owner of SimplyBiz and Defaqto, has acquired digital knowledge and competence management system Competent Adviser. Competent Adviser provides compliance and development training to 15,000 users, supporting the completion of around 500,000 tests per year. The compliance and development training provider is the first to be integrated into Fintel IQ, the firm’s new regulatory and business support platform. Competent Adviser was founded in 2003 and offers testing, learning, reporting, CPD monitoring, training and consultancy to financial services businesses. (Financial Planning Today Reporter, 27/7/2023, Financial Planning Today, 'Fintel acquires Competent Adviser')

Wren Sterling has acquired Cornwall-based financial advisory firm Stockdale & Co. All clients of Stockdale & Co. have been informed of the transaction and its Lanivet office remains open with contact details unchanged. Stockdale & Co, which focuses on all aspects of financial planning, was established by Keith Stockdale and Sharon Stockdale in 1995. The acquisition comes after Wren Sterling expanded its Northern reach by adding Lancashire-based Callisto Wealth to the group. (Sahar Nazir, 1/8/2023, Professional Adviser, 'Wren Sterling acquires Cornwall-based IFA Stockdale & Co')


Schroders-owned advice group Benchmark Capital has announced David White is standing down as its CEO. White will be replaced by Benchmark’s Managing Director wealth Ed Dymott at the start of 2024. White will remain on the Benchmark board post-handover and be close to several clients, including Schroders Personal Wealth, a spokesperson for the firm said in a statement. Prior to joining Benchmark in February 2020, White ran Zurich’s adviser wrap and was head of retail for its UK life business. Before Zurich, he led Fidelity’s FundsNetwork platform from January 2011 to September 2012, where he worked alongside Dymott. Dymott’s career has spanned Fidelity and Aegon, where he was most recently Managing Director of Transformation and Strategy. He also serves on the board of several advice firms, including Redbourne Wealth Management. (Zachariah Sharif, 3/8/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Ed Dymott replaces David White as Benchmark Capital’s CEO')

Schroders Personal Wealth (SPW) has appointed Alan Goodman as its Chief Investment Officer (CIO). Goodman brings more than 25 years of financial services experience to his new role, including three years at St James’s Place (SJP), where he was most recently Director of Private Markets and alternatives. In a dual capacity, he was also Deputy CIO at SJP discretionary subsidiary Rowan Dartington, where he had oversight of investment research teams and product management. (Robin Amos, 1/8/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Revealed: Schroders Personal Wealth appoints SJP alts head as CIO')

​Alex Moore, who recently left Rathbones as Head of Collectives Research, is to join BlackRock in August. Moore had spent more than eight years at Rathbones. He joined in 2015 as a Research Analyst and was promoted to Head of Collectives Research in 2018. Prior to Rathbones, he spent 18 months as an Analyst for the British Steel Pension fund. Moore began his career at Dimensional Fund Advisors, where he spent more than seven years, rising to become an Investment Associate. (John Schaffer, 28/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Rathbones research boss Alex Moore to join BlackRock')

​Peter Flavel has stepped down as Coutts Chief Executive with immediate effect. His departure follows NatWest CEO Alison Rose’s resignation following the fallout from the closure of Nigel Farage’s Coutts account. Mohammad Kamal Syed, Coutts’ Head of Asset Management, will become Interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found. Flavel had been in the top job since March 2016. Prior to that, he spent five years at JP Morgan as CEO of Private Wealth Management, Asia Pacific. He also spent five years as Global Head of Standard Chartered’s Private Bank. (John Schaffer, 27/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Flavel steps down as Coutts CEO')

In further news...Nutmeg Director of Wealth Services Laura Kingman has joined Coutts as Head of Financial Planning. In this newly created role, she will lead a team of 40 financial planners. Kingman joined Nutmeg at the start of 2020 after a seven-year stint with Fidelity International, where she served as a Personal Investing Sales Senior Manager at the time of her exit. (Christopher Johnson, 17/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Nutmeg director exits for new Coutts head of planning role')

​Quilter Cheviot has bolstered its business development team with four hires. Adam Davey joins the investment firm’s Glasgow office as a Business Development Manager. He transfers from Royal London where he held a similar role for around a year. Davey has 26 years of experience in financial services working with financial advisers across Scotland. Emily Murphy joins the firm’s London office from Abrdn as Business Development Manager. She worked at Abrdn for four years, where she focused on developing connections with national advice firms, advice networks, banks and building societies. Quilter Cheviot has also added a Business Development Manager to its Leicester office. Ruth Lynch joins from its sister company Quilter, having worked as both a Relationship Manager and Field Coach for more than five years. John Long completes the quadruple hire. He joins from Threesixty to take up the post of National Account Manager where he will be responsible for supporting national and network advice firms across Quilter Cheviot’s product range with an emphasis on its model portfolio service. (Christopher Johnson, 20/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Quilter Cheviot hires raft of regional business development managers')

Another Investec Wealth & Investment veteran, Gary Callow, has exited for Close Brothers Asset Management (CBAM). Callow, who spent more than 15 years at Investec, joins CBAM’s Birmingham office as Senior Investment Director. In this role, where he will develop actively managed bespoke portfolios for clients. His appointment makes him the seventh senior Investec W&I investment Director to defect to Close since the turn of the year. (Caroline Hug, 18/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Seventh Investec W&I director joins Close this year')

​The heads of Brown Shipley’s Leeds and Birmingham branches have left the private bank as part of a wider reorganisation of the business. Andrew Goodchild and Anne Brookes, the heads of Leeds and Birmingham respectively, left earlier this year and are now on gardening leave, a spokesperson for the firm confirmed in a statement. The departures of the two Senior Wealth Managers come as wider redundancies are expected at the firm related to the reorganisation. Goodchild had been head of Brown Shipley’s Leeds branch for more than 25 years, having joined the firm in 1998 from Investec Wealth & Investment, where he began his career. Brookes has been a Private Banking Director for the firm in Birmingham since 2011, according to her LinkedIn profile. She formerly worked for about a decade at Coutts. (Robin Amos, 18/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Revealed: Brown Shipley Leeds and Birmingham heads exit in regional ‘realignment’')

​The Chair of Hargreaves Lansdown is to step down after more than five years in the role following scathing criticism from Co-Founder and lead shareholder Peter Hargreaves. Britain’s biggest investment platform confirmed in a market announcement that it was looking for a successor to Deanna Oppenheimer. Chris Hill is also set to be replaced as Chief Executive, a role he has held since 2017, by board member and Tesco executive Dan Olley next month. Recently the company appointed ex-Coutts CEO Michael Morley as a Director. The leadership overhaul follows outspoken criticism of the firm’s direction from Peter Hargreaves, who still owns around a fifth of the business. He said earlier this year that Hargreaves Lansdown needs ‘a huge round of cost cutting’ and has employed ‘at least 1,000 people’ it doesn’t need. (Jeremy Gordon, 18/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Hargreaves Lansdown chair to exit in leadership overhaul')

​Evelyn Partners has hired Callum Ogden as a Financial Planner in its Birmingham office. Ogden joins the branch after starting out in financial planning in 2017, when he left the British army after seven years. He was most recently a Personal Wealth Adviser at Schroders Personal Wealth and previously worked at Simpson Financial Services and Oak Wealth Planning. (Robin Amos, 12/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Evelyn Partners hires ex-army SPW financial planner in Birmingham')

​In further news...Evelyn Partners has added to its Bristol office with the hire of Will Thompson as a Financial Planning Director. Thompson joins Evelyn Partners from Rathbones, where he spent more than three years as a Senior Financial Planner. Prior to this, he worked for more than 11 years at Old Mill as an Associate Director. (Christopher Johnson, 11/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Evelyn Partners bolsters Bristol office with financial planning hire')

Rathbones has appointed Ben Griffiths as Investment Director. Griffiths joins the firm’s Manchester office after almost five years at Evelyn Partners, where he worked as Investment Director. He joined Tilney’s Manchester office (now Evelyn Partners) in 2018 alongside Ben Roberts, who moved over from Brooks Macdonald. Roberts then left Evelyn’s Manchester office last October to join Artorius Wealth Management. Griffiths has more than a decade’s worth of experience in the industry, having started his career as an Associate at Coutts in 2011. He became Investment Manager at Cornelian Asset Manager three years later. Prior to his time at Evelyn, he worked as a Client Senior Manager at Brown Shipley for more than three years. (Caroline Hug, 11/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Rathbones poaches Evelyn Manchester investment director')

Quintet Private Bank has named Daniele Antonucci as Chief Investment Officer and Co-Head of Investment. Most recently, Antonucci was Chief Economist and Macro Strategist at the bank, having initially joined in April 2020 after a decade leading a team of economists at Morgan Stanley. He will continue to lead Quintet’s investment research activities and will work with a Senior Portfolio Management Specialist, who will join the firm later this year. As CIO, Antonucci is responsible for developing and communicating the bank’s investment strategy and policies. He is replacing Bill Street, who created the bank’s CIO office before leaving in December 2022. (Margaryta Kirakosian, 10/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Quintet Private Bank names new CIO in wake of BlackRock deal')

JP Morgan Private Bank has launched its first regional UK office in Manchester, which will be led by Khayyam Jumani. Jumani, who is UK North Team Leader, will work with a team of Private Bankers that will offer wealth management advice and services to individuals, family offices, charities and family foundations across Greater Manchester. He joined the bank in 2013 and has 12 years of experience across corporate banking, lending and global investments. Along with other roles, he assisted with the expansion of the corporate bank in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. (Margaryta Kirakosian, 10/7/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'JP Morgan Private Bank launches first regional arm in Manchester')

Experienced Adviser and former Paraplanner Richard Lent DipPFS has joined national IFA Continuum as a Financial Adviser in the West Midlands. Mr Lent DipPFS joins the partnership from KLO Financial Services where he was a Financial Adviser for two years. His previous jobs included roles in wealth management and pensions consultancy as well as compliance and Paraplanning positions. Mr Lent has been working in financial services for over 20 years. (Financial Planning Today Reporter, 1/8/2023, Financial Planning Today, 'New IFA joins Continuum in Midlands')

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All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from Money Marketing, Financial Planning Today, Citywire Wealth Manager and Professional Adviser.