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Financial Services Newsletter Friday 3rd November 2023

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Financial Services News

Quilter has added value and infrastructure funds to its multi-asset Cirilium range, as it finalises a mass review that started last year. However, the firm is still struggling to stem outflows from its flagship active range, which has suffered £1.5bn of redemptions since new management took over late last year. The M&G European Strategic Value fund was added to the Cirilium Active and Blend portfolios, while the ClearBridge Global Infrastructure Income fund was added to the Blend funds. (John Schaffer, 1/11/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Quilter adds two funds to Cirilium, but fails to stem £1.5bn active outflow')

​Odey Asset Management has announced it is in the process of winding down, after it failed to recover from the sexual misconduct scandal that engulfed Founder Crispin Odey. The hedge fund firm said in a note on its website that Odey AM, including subsidiaries Brook Asset Management and Odey Wealth, will be closing. This follows the mass exodus of its remaining fund managers to other firms, as well as the closure of several funds already. A note referring specifically to Odey AM said the remaining staff would wind down the business and ensure investors are looked after. (Jeremy Gordon, 31/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Odey Asset Management to wind down, confirms full manager moves')

Brooks Macdonald is to cut around 55 jobs as it looks to reduce costs in the difficult market conditions. In a market announcement, Brooks said it was informing staff on the business restructure, with those impacted subject to consultation. The wealth firm said it would provide ‘comprehensive outplacement’ support to those affected. Brooks expects the action to trim £4m in staff costs, with costs related to the reorganisation expected to fall at about £3m. (Dylan Lobo, 31/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Brooks Macdonald to cut 55 jobs as market conditions bite')

Outgoing St James’s Place (SJP) Chief Executive Andrew Croft has bought £248,000 worth of shares in the company. Croft purchased close to 40,000 shares in the wealth firm at £6.25 a share on Friday, according to a market disclosure. Shares were trading at £6.32, a gain of 2.2% in the day. The purchase is a signal that Croft believes the struggling business can turn things around. (John Schaffer, 30/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Andrew Croft snaps up £250k St James’s Place stake')

​Stratford-Upon-Avon-based Albert E Sharp has joined the increasing number of DFMs adding gilt savings portfolios to their offerings. The launch seeks to tap into the demand for higher interest rates on savings in a volatile market and economic environment, as well as maximising the tax advantages of holding UK government bonds. The move follows similar expansions from other investment management firms including Brooks Macdonald, Killik and Quilter Cheviot. (Christopher Johnson, 30/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Midlands DFM joins move to launch gilt savings model in MPS')

​Profits at Coutts dropped 57.6% in the third quarter compared with last year, as clients moved into higher-interest-bearing accounts. NatWest’s private banking arm recorded a Q3 operating profit of £59m, down from £139m in the equivalent period last year. Profits have also been slashed compared with second-quarter figures of £101m. The firm said that revenues dropped nearly 25% compared with last year as ‘customers continue to migrate to higher-interest-rate savings products’. (John Schaffer, 27/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Coutts’ profits drop 58% as clients move into higher-interest accounts')

Private equity-backed Progeny is looking for a new investment to fund its growth plans. With £8bn in assets under advice, Progeny is one of the largest private equity-backed consolidators in the UK advice market. CEO Neil Moles told NMA the firm is looking to raise capital and could look outside of private equity (PE) for a cash injection to grow further, stretching beyond the £10bn asset target it set itself for the end of 2023. (Zachariah Sharif, 26/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Exclusive: £8bn Progeny looking for new investment')

​St James’s Place (STJ) has suspended dealing in its £924.2m property fund and stopped redemptions in its corresponding life and pension funds. SJP said the decision was taken due to clients increasing withdrawals and limiting their investments, as well as a wider downturn in demand for UK commercial property with some offices remaining vacant after the Covid pandemic. While the size of the SJP property unit trust is £924.2m, the entire mandate, which includes the life and pension versions of the fund, is £3.1bn. (Nicola Blackburn, 23/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'SJP suspends £3bn property fund mandate as demand drops')

Liverpool-based wealth manager and stockbroker Blankstone Sington, which managed around £400m of assets, has entered special administration. According to a notice on its website, Andrew Poxon, Alex Cadwallader and Hilary Pascoe of Leonard Curtis were appointed as joint Administrators for the firm on Friday the 13th of October, following an application to the High Court. As the firm acted as a custodian as well as wealth manager, the administrators must review client assets before they begin the process of returning them to the clients. The administrators may also sell the client bank to another firm. (Jack Gilbert, 16/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Liverpool DFM with £400m falls into administration')

Private equity-backed national advice firm Fairstone has signed a deal with Charles Stanley that will see the wealth manager build a bespoke model portfolio service (MPS) range for the firm’s 650 advisers. Turning to external managers to run bespoke mandates is an increasingly popular route being chosen by mid- and large-scale advice businesses. With £13bn in assets under advice, Fairstone has grown to become one of the biggest firms in the UK through acquisitions funded by private equity backers. While it runs its own discretionary fund manager division, it already uses a number of other providers for its investment solutions. (Nicola Blackburn, 12/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Fairstone joins forces with Charles Stanley for bespoke MPS range')

Mergers & Acquisitions

Premier Miton has struck a deal to buy Tellworth Investments. The value of the deal will be based on Tellworth’s assets under management (AUM) at completion. As of the 30th of September, the firm had £559m in assets, which would value the deal at £5.5m. Premier Miton noted the value of the deal could vary between £3.5m and £6m depending on the completion date, which is expected to be in early 2024. An additional consideration of up to £3m may be payable depending on AUM growth between completion and the first anniversary of the deal, with the maximum amount payable if assets on the first anniversary exceed £850m. (Dylan Lobo, 1/11/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Premier Miton strikes deal to buy Tellworth Investments')

​Lumin Wealth has continued its expansion as it announces its eighth acquisition since 2019. The consolidator has bought BW Financial Consultants, a financial advice firm based in Penn, Buckinghamshire. The deal will bump Lumin Wealth’s assets under management (AUM) up by £95m, having already reached £1bn. (Christopher Johnson, 1/11/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Lumin Wealth adds another £95m with Buckinghamshire buy')

​Private equity-backed wealth manager Progeny has bought Edinburgh-based Carbon Financial Partners, adding £600m in assets under management (AUM). The deal will take Progeny’s AUM above £8.6bn and is the firm’s 21st acquisition. Progeny CEO Neil Moles said the acquisition would strengthen the firm’s presence in Scotland. He added that the group applies a ‘set of strict criteria’ when buying firms but did not say what these criteria are other than that firms must add ‘significant value’. (Zachariah Sharif, 25/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Progeny adds another £600m with Edinburgh buy')

​Titan Wealth has swooped on Gateshead-based independent financial advice firm Prism Financial Advice for an undisclosed sum. Founded in 2005, Prism holds £630m in assets under advice and has expertise within a range of financial planning services, including pensions, investments, and protection. The deal gives Prism access to Titan’s wider group products and services. The acquisition, which remains subject to regulatory approval, will lift Titan’s total assets under management to more than £12.6bn. (Caroline Hug, 11/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Titan Wealth snaps up £630m advice firm')

​Courtiers has acquired Norwich-based Brunswick Investment Management, bringing its total funds under management to £1.1bn. The deal, which completed on the 1st of November, brings £105m in client funds. Courtiers now has seven offices in the UK and its number of employees has risen to 140. The acquisition marks the latest in a string of buys as the firm builds towards its target of £3bn funds under management by 2033. (Caroline Hug, 2/11/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Courtiers buys Norwich investment manager and eyes further deals')

​National Financial Planning firm Fairstone has acquired South West-based Station Financial IFA and County Durham-based Advanced Financial Services. The deals add over £380m in assets under management and £4m in annual revenue. They also bring 2,000 clients, 17 advisers and 19 support staff. Both firms joined Fairstone under its downstream buy out model, which allows for a period of integration before full acquisition. (Financial Planning Today, 2/11/2023, 'Fairstone adds £380m AUM with 2 acquisitions')


JP Morgan has hired Robin Wright as an Executive Director and Client Adviser covering the northern UK market, as the bank grows its presence in Manchester. Wright will focus on advising entrepreneurs and family businesses. He joins from Coutts, where he spent the last 11 years and ran the northeast region, covering Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle offices. Prior to that, Wright was Deputy Regional Director and Head of Global Sports Group at HSBC. He was also a Senior Independent Financial Adviser at AWD Chase de Vere. Another addition to the Manchester office is Ramina Talishinskaya, who started at JP Morgan three years ago as a Wealth Management Analyst and will now be an Associate and Client Adviser. (Margaryta Kirakosian, 2/11/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Coutts North East head exits for JP Morgan')

Two RBC Wealth Management heavyweights have joined forces with a former Bank of England Executive to launch a business aimed at bridging the ‘high-net-worth advice gap’. Six Degrees Wealth Management has been launched by Katherine Waller and Ollie Saiman, who both spent around a decade at RBC, most recently as Managing Director and Senior Relationship Director, respectively. Victoria Sena, who spent eight years at the Bank of England in its authorisations, banking and insurance division before taking a post as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Sarnia Asset Management, has been recruited as COO. (Dylan Lobo, 1/11/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'RBC WM duo aim to shake up wealth industry with new firm')

Investec Wealth & Investment has hired Kirsty Cartwright as Investment Director. Cartwright joins the firm’s Birmingham office after almost 18 years at RBC Brewin Dolphin, where she most recently worked as Divisional Director. Cartwright has more than 20 years of experience in the wealth management industry, starting her career at Gerrard (now known as Barclays Wealth) as a Private Client Investment Manager in 2000. Before moving on to RBC Brewin, she joined Mazars Solutions as a Trust Investment Manager, working there for just under two years. (Caroline Hug, 30/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Investec Wealth hires veteran RBC Brewin director')

​North Capital Management has hired Abrdn Investment Director Katy Forbes as Chief Investment Officer (CIO). Forbes has more than 20 years of experience in macro investing, having joined Standard Life Investments (now known as Abrdn) in 2001 as a Risk Analyst. She has since held senior roles as a Portfolio Manager in both absolute return fixed income and multi-asset portfolios. Forbes replaces North Capital’s former CIO Andrew Spence, who will now focus on running the firm’s managed portfolio solution for advisers, Aspen, for which North Capital and FNZ are stakeholders. (Caroline Hug, 27/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Edinburgh private office appoints Abrdn director as CIO')

Rathbones has hired CCLA’s Co-Head of Investments to beef up its £6bn charities division. James Ayre joins the wealth management group as its Head of Investment for charities. Ayre brings 23 years of investment experience and has spent the last 16 years at CCLA Investment Management, the UK’s largest charity fund group and a significant investor for religious organisations. Prior to that, he worked as an Investment Analyst at Santander and Inscape. (Jeremy Gordon, 26/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Rathbones hires charity investment head from CCLA')

​Schroders Capital has launched a private debt and credit alternatives business overseeing $30bn (£24.5bn) in assets under management. The firm has set up the new unit, with more than 100 investment professionals, at a time of growing investor interest in private debt. The division will be led by Michelle Russell-Dowe and Stephan Ruoff as Co-Heads. The pair will also continue in their current roles as Global Head of Securitised Product and Asset-based Finance and Global Head of Insurance-linked Securities, respectively. (Selin Bucak, 24/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Schroders Capital launches $30bn private debt business')

​Paul Angell will be joining AJ Bell as Head of Investment Research from Square Mile Investment Consulting, amid a shake-up of the firm’s investment unit. Richard Slattery Vickers is also joining AJ Bell as Head of Investment Product. He comes from Castlefield where he has been a Partner for the past seven years. Meanwhile, Ryan Hughes has been promoted to Investments Director. Hughes joined AJ Bell in 2016 as Head of Fund Selection, a role he held for six years. Most recently, Hughes worked as Head of Investment Partnerships, overseeing bespoke MPS portfolios. He will continue to do this in his new role. Prior to joining AJ Bell, Hughes worked as a Discretionary Portfolio Manager at Apollo Multi Asset Management for three years. He also spent eight years at Skandia (now Quilter) as a member on its investment and global asset allocation committees. (Olivia Bybel, 23/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'AJ Bell hires new research boss and Hughes promoted')

​Julius Baer International has hired a trio of UBS veterans for a new office in Newcastle. The three recruits comprise Aidan Dunstan and Alison Lander, who join as Relationship Managers, and Stacey Kirby, who joins as an Assistant Relationship Manager. Between them, they have 45 years of experience at UBS. Dunstan spent 20 years at the Swiss investment bank, where he served as Regional Head of the Northeast. Kirby also spent two decades at the firm, most recently as an Associate Director. Lander, who has been a Director at UBS for the past five years, joined the bank after a 20-year spell at Coutts. (Caroline Hug, 19/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Julius Baer hires 45 years of UBS experience for Newcastle launch')

Waverton’s Senior Multi-Asset and Sustainability Analyst Paris Jordan is departing the firm to join Charles Stanley as Head of Responsible Investing. Jordan had spent close to three years at Waverton and was responsible for oversight of more than £2bn in third-party funds. She joined the wealth firm after a nearly six-year stint at Sanlam Investments, where she was a Fund Analyst for socially responsible investing. (John Schaffer, 18/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Paris Jordan exits Waverton for top Charles Stanley ESG role')

UBS Wealth Management has hired Allister Hogg as an Adviser for its Newcastle office, as it strengthens its offering for entrepreneurs and executive in the Northeast. Hogg joins from Barclays Wealth Management where he has been advising private clients on all aspects of wealth management in the last five years. Prior to starting his career in wealth management, he was a professional rugby player for 16 years, having spent eight years with Edinburgh Rugby and a further eight years with the Newcastle Falcons. During that time, he also gained 48 Scotland caps. (Margaryta Kirakosian, 17/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'UBS WM hires former rugby player as adviser for Newcastle office')

​Ex-Casterbridge Wealth Head of Research, Jonathan Smith, has joined Coutts as a Multi-Asset Portfolio Manager. Smith left Casterbridge in August this year after more than six years at the firm. As well as being Head of Research where he led the fund selection function, he was also a Sustainable Impact Portfolio Manager. Prior to joining Casterbridge, he spent two years as an Investment Helpdesk Consultant at Hargreaves Lansdown after graduating from the University of East Anglia in 2014 with a degree in business management. (John Schaffer, 17/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Ex-Casterbridge Top 30 star resurfaces at Coutts')

Danny Szabo has left JM Finn after a brief seven-month tenure to join 7IM. Szabo joined JM Finn in March this year as an Investment Manager following a five-year stint at Atomos where he held a similar role. Szabo has more than a decade of experience in investment management, having worked as Head of Relationship Management at Evelyn Partners for four years before moving over to venture capital-focused firm Oxford Capital. (Caroline Hug, 13/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Investment manager joins 7IM after seven-month JM Finn stint')

Julius Baer has hired Sonia Gössi as Head of Switzerland and Europe in the latest of a series of senior changes for the bank that include the splitting-up of its EMEA division. Gössi – previously Head of Wealth Management Europe International North at UBS – is set to join the firm on the 1st of January 2024. Her appointment follows the decision of Yves Robert-Charrue, Head of Switzerland and EMEA, to leave the group at the beginning of 2024. The firm has split EMEA into European and emerging markets segments as a result. Head of Americas, Beatriz Sanchez, is also stepping down from the executive board. She will now assume a strategic role of Chair of Americas. Julius Baer has also brought in Thomas Frauenlob as Head of Intermediaries and Family Offices. He will join on the 1st of April 2024 from UBS, where he is currently the Head of Global Financial Intermediaries Business. Frauenlob is taking over the role from Nic Dreckmann, who is focusing on his role as Chief Operating Officer and becomes Deputy CEO of the bank. Other senior changes included promotions for Carlos Recoder Miralles – currently Head Western, Northern Europe & Luxembourg – and Rahul Malhotra, who is in charge of Julius Baer’s global India franchise (onshore and non-resident), as well as Japan and Asia clients. Meanwhile, Malhotra will serve as Head of Emerging Markets - He joined the firm from JP Morgan in 2021. (Margaryta Kirakosian, 9/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Julius Baer hires UBS banker to head European business amid senior shake-up')

Quintet Private Bank, the parent company of Brown Shipley, has appointed Warren Hastings as Co-Head of Investment and Head of Portfolio Management. Hastings joins from Credit Suisse, where he spent the last 11 years, most recently as Head of Investment Management internationally, working out of Zurich. Previously he held similar roles focused on Europe and the Asia Pacific region. Hastings began his career at Schroders as an Asian Equity Fund Manager, before joining Standard Chartered in Singapore as Head of Portfolio Management. (Oliva Bybel, 6/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Investment team rejig continues at Brown Shipley parent company')

Aviva has hired Leah Ramoutar as Environmental Sustainability Director from Phoenix Group. Ramoutar spent more than 14 years at Phoenix, most recently as Head of Climate and Nature Risk. She is also a Chartered Accountant and previously worked at KPMG for more than four years. (John Schaffer, 5/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Aviva makes key ESG hire from Phoenix')

Walker Crips has appointed Ryan Hughes as Head of Business Development. Hughes was Head of Business Development at Rowan Dartington, St James’s Place’s discretionary fund management division for close to eight years. He then left to found FinTech startup Play-Ex Sports in 2020, a management platform aimed at sports professionals. (John Schaffer, 4/10/2023, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Walker Crips hires former SJP sales boss')

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All information provided in this Market Digest has been gathered from Money Marketing and Citywire Wealth Manager.