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Financial Services Newsletter Friday 1st March 2024

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Financial Services News

​Following the dramatic share price dive of St James’s Place (SJP), the wealth management giant risks being dropped from the FTSE 100. FTSE Russell confirmed yesterday evening that Endeavor Mining had been shunted in its latest reshuffle, making room for EasyJet. The changes will come into effect on 18 March. Notably, the rebalancing happened before SJP’s share price fall of more than 20% on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of £2.8bn, some way behind Endeavor’s £3.1bn valuation. (John Schaffer, 29/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'St James’s Place risks being booted from FTSE 100')

​Quilter has made its £14bn model portfolio services (MPS) range available to the wider advice market for the first time as it looks to bring in flows from other advisers. The WealthSelect portfolios are now available on three external adviser platforms: the Morningstar platform, Parmenion and the M&G Wealth platform. They were previously available only on Quilter’s platform. (Nicola Blackburn, 29/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Quilter puts MPS on third-party platforms for first time')

Abrdn’s financial planning business almost halved in value in 2023 as the asset manager wrote down its advice arm again and revealed it had cut a fifth of jobs in the division. The value of Abrdn Financial Planning fell to £45m, down from £85m at the end of December 2022. The value was measured by the fair value less cost of disposal, an accounting measure. The loss was partly due to an impairment of £36m on Abrdn’s financial planning arm, £23m of which was recognised last June. This impairment was due to ‘lower markets and macroeconomic conditions and the impact of business restructuring’. (Nicola Blackburn, 27/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Abrdn reveals a fifth of advice jobs cut and 50% write-down')

St James’s Place (SJP) Co-Founder Jacob Rothschild has died. Rothschild, who was 87, set up SJP in 1991 following a 20-year career at family bank N M Rothschild & Sons. Rothschild co-founded the national advice business under the name J Rothschild Assurance Group alongside Mark Weinberg, former Deputy Chair of the forerunner regulatory body to the FCA, and the late Mike Wilson. A spokesperson for SJP said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lord Jacob Rothschild. As a hugely accomplished financier and a co-founder of St James’s Place, Lord Rothschild leaves an extraordinary legacy in helping to shape the financial advice profession in the UK." (Nicola Blackburn, 26/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'SJP co-founder Jacob Rothschild dies aged 87')

​The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has declared collapsed discretionary fund manager (DFM) Blankstone Sington in default. In preparation for paying out compensation to clients, the FSCS declared Liverpool-based Blankstone Sington a failed firm. Blankstone Sington entered special administration last October after failing to convince 140 prospective buyers to rescue the company’s dwindling assets and underfunded pension scheme, which carried a deficit of about £641,000 as of August 2023. (Nicola Blackburn, 8/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'FSCS declares £284m DFM in default')

​Mattioli Woods recorded an 8% revenue uptick in its interim results, despite market volatility putting pressure on assets. Its revenue increased from £54.9m in the first half of the year to £59.1m in the six months ended 30 November 2023. The boost was due to organic growth in the new business, as well as the effects of its acquisitions of Doherty Pensions and Investment Consultancy and White Mortgages in the prior year. (Caroline Hug, 6/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Mattioli Woods revenue jumps 8% in choppy markets')

​Former Buckingham Gate Financial Planner Peter Ditchburn has launched a duo of firms under the brand Deep Dive. The businesses – which were established in November 2023 – focus on estate and financial planning for whole families, rather than “looking at things in silos”. Deep Dive Financial Planning is an appointed representative of 2plan Wealth Management – a sister company of Openwork, for whom Ditchburn has worked in the past. (Lois Vallely, 28/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'New advice firm launches with intergenerational planning focus')

​Quilter Financial Planning has added two new appointed representative (AR) financial planning firms to its network. The first – Sports Media and Entertainment Wealth Management – is a newly-formed business led by former Coutts’ chartered wealth manager Obinna Ikedife. The second – Holroyd Wealth Management – is based in North Somerset and Bristol. It was launched by principal and chartered financial planner Anthony Holroyd, who was previously a wealth manager at HSBC. (Lois Vallely, 26/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'Two new AR firms join Quilter’s advice network')

​Pensions advisory firm Isio Group has reported that its revenue surged past £155m on the back of acquisitions and organic growth. The group’s financial results for the year to 30 September 2023 showed annualised revenue of over £155m and EBITDA of around £39m. The results showed revenue growth of 33% from £101.5m to £135.3m and EBITDA growth of 27% from £27m to £34.4m. (Momodou Musa Touray, 21/2/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'Isio Group revenue passes £155m on back of acquisitions')

Vanguard has launched a new digital education and training hub designed to help financial advisers support their clients and grow their businesses. Vanguard 365 is “part of an ongoing investment in the support and services Vanguard provides to UK financial advisers and intermediaries”. The hub provides a range of tailored educational content and events, supporting professional development and allowing advisers to accumulate CPD points. (Dan Cooper, 14/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'Vanguard launches new training hub to support advisers')

​M&G Wealth has launched a new tool to help advisers calculate clients benefit from a transitional tax-free amount certificate ahead of the abolition of the lifetime allowance (LTA) in April. M&G Wealth’s new LTA transitional tax-free amount tool supports advisers by identifying the standard lump-sum allowance (LSA), calculating reductions based on default transitional rules and under transitional tax-free amount certificate rules. (Momodou Musa Touray, 14/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'M&G Wealth launches adviser tool ahead of LTA abolition'

Benchmark has laid out ambitious plans to grow its advice offering following its purchase of Unique Financial Planning last year. The firm’s Chief Executive Ed Dymott said that 2023 had been a “record year” for attracting new businesses – both to acquire and to use its tech offering. Dymott said Benchmark will continue to consider strategic acquisitions to grow its advice business. (Lois Vallely, 9/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'Benchmark sets out ambitious growth plans following Unique purchase')

Mergers & Acquisitions

London & Capital Group (LCG) and Waverton Investment Management Group are to merge. The merger creates a wealth business with £17bn in assets under management. US private equity firm Lovell Minnick Partners (LMP), which became London & Capital’s biggest shareholder when it bought a stake in the business in June 2022, will take a majority shareholding in the combined business.  LMP will also provide fresh capital to the merged business, which will be invested in enhancing client service, technology investment and product and geographic expansion. (Dylan Lobo, 29/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Waverton and London & Capital to merge')

​Abrdn has sold its 50% stake in its joint venture (JV) with Virgin Money for less than half the price it paid for it. Virgin Money Investments was established in 2019 as a 50-50 JV between Abrdn and Virgin Money, with Abrdn providing fund management for a series of funds that were sold to Virgin Money’s customers. The service, which comprises an FNZ platform and a range of Virgin Money-branded funds, went live to customers last April. A new pension, also run by FNZ, was launched last November and all customers were migrated across to it last month. The service has £3.7bn of assets under management and 150,000 customers. Following the pension launch and migration, Virgin Money has decided to buy out Abrdn’s 50% stake for £20m. This represents a 60% loss on the £50m Abrdn spent on the JV. (Nicola Blackburn, 14/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Abrdn sells Virgin Money JV stake at 60% loss')

IFA consolidator Perspective Financial Group has received new private equity (PE) investment from US firm Charlesbank Capital Partners. Charlesbank, which is based in Boston, has bought out the equity of Perspective’s current lead PE owner, CBPE Capital, which had been invested for just under five years. The details of the Charlesbank deal were not disclosed, but NMA reported that it was in search of a £300m valuation last year. (Jack Gilbert, 7/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Consolidator Perspective gets new PE investment')


​Royal London has appointed Peter Josse as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO). He replaces outgoing COO Will Pritchett, who has been with the business for four years, firstly as Chief Investment Officer before being appointed COO in January 2023. Pritchett will leave the business at the end of March, according to a spokesperson for Royal London. Josse’s career spans more than 20 years in banking. He joins Royal London from Barclays, where he has worked since 2008 across several operations, change management and technology roles. Most recently, Josse was Chief Information Officer for Barclays’ UK business. Before joining Barclays, he was the Global Head of Infrastructure and Service at Dutch bank ABN AMRO, where he worked for 11 years, according to his LinkedIn profile. (Nicola Blackburn, 28/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Royal London poaches Barclays veteran as new COO')

​Coutts has boosted its funds research team with the hire of former Hawksmoor Top 100 star James Clark. Clark joins Coutts after a one-year stint as Head of Investment Funds and Research at Aditum Investment Management in Dubai. Prior to this, he worked as a Senior Fund Analyst at Hawksmoor Investment Management, where he worked for seven years. Clark started his career as a Portfolio Manager at Charles Stanley in 2007, where he worked for almost six years. He also had a two-year stint as an Investment Manager at Prydis before moving to Hawksmoor. (Caroline Hug, 27/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Coutts hires former Hawksmoor Top 100 star James Clark')

Rathbones has appointed two Brooks Macdonald veterans to its London ranks. Charles Williams has joined the wealth manager after more than 15 years at Brooks, where he worked as Senior Investment Director. Williams left Brooks towards the end of last year. Nathan Delaney has also joined Rathbones, having announced his departure from Brooks earlier this month. Delaney worked at Brooks for more than 17 years, having started as a graduate trainee in 2006. He most recently led the hedge funds and alternatives research sector and was responsible for the firm’s graduate trainee scheme. (Caroline Hug, 26/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Rathbones appoints two Brooks veterans in London office')

​Nomura Asset Management’s Head of Equity for its UK team is leaving to join Sarasin & Partners. Tom Wildgoose will join the UK-based thematic investing specialist on 4 March as a Senior Portfolio Manager focused on global equities. Wildgoose has stepped off the $121m Nomura Fds Global High Conviction fund, which is left in the hands of Javier Panizo, and the $29m Nomura Global Sustainable Equity fund, which will be run by Alex Rowe. A Sarasin & Partners spokesperson said: "This appointment reflects Sarasin & Partners’ commitment to investing in top-tier talent and its forward-looking strategy. Tom’s 16 years of experience in managing global equity portfolios will enhance our capabilities, as we continue driving success and delivering on the diverse needs of our client base." (Ian Heath, 23/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Nomura AM equity chief quits for Sarasin & Partners')

In further news...​Sarasin & Partners has added two new faces to its charity investment team. Tom Santa-Olalla joins from Close Brothers Asset Management where he spent six years, most recently as a Senior Investment Specialist. Before that, he worked at HSBC Private Bank, advising high- and ultra-high-net-worth clients. Santa-Olallais joined by Hector McLean, who spent three years at Cantab Asset Management, providing investment management and financial planning services to the firm’s private client base. (Dylan Lobo, 23/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Sarasin & Partners boosts charity team with Close and Cantab hires')

​Oberon Investments has recruited wealth entrepreneur Adam Young for its Smythe House division. Young, who has founded two wealth businesses during a career spanning three decades, joins Smythe House as a Private Office Director. Young started his career in retail banking at Barclays in 1984 and went on to form his own family office and planning business, Dragonfly, which he managed for 25 years. He then co-founded Jarrovian Wealth in 2017, where he headed up the firm’s private office division overseeing 150 high-net-worth families. Young is joined at Smythe by Senior Relationship Manager Kelly Morgan, who has 12 years of experience in wealth management. Morgan started her career at UBS and also had a spell working alongside Young at Jarrovian as a Senior Client Relationship Manager. More recently she has been running her own European wellness company in Ibiza. (Caroline Hug, 21/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Oberon recruits wealth entrepreneur for Smythe House arm')

​Investment Manager Carolyn Black has returned to Redmayne Bentley nine years after leaving the business. Black worked at Redmayne between 2005-2015 before moving to become an Associate Director for Myddleton Croft, which was acquired by Charles Stanley in 2019. On her return to Redmayne, she takes up an Investment Manager post in the firm’s Leeds office, located in Wellington Place. (Olivia Bybel, 14/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Charles Stanley investment manager returns to Redmayne Bentley)

Investec Alternative Investment Management has appointed Alicia Forry as Head of ESG, Alternative Investments. Forry was previously Head of UK Equity ESG products at Investec, leading cross-sector ESG research on UK listed companies. She is also a member of the group’s sustainable business forum, which was set up to help clients with their net-zero transition. (Selin Bucak, 13/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Investec appoints ESG head for alternatives business')

Evelyn Partners has appointed Quilter Cheviot veteran Daniel Lewis as an Investment Director in the firm’s Chelmsford office. Before the move, Lewis spent 22 years at Quilter Cheviot, where he began working just two years after leaving university. (Olivia Bybel, 12/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Evelyn hires Quilter veteran in East Anglia push')

Waverton Investment Management has recruited former Odey Wealth Investment Director Alexander Cottrell. Cottrell spent a decade at Odey before it collapsed at the end of last year following sexual misconduct allegations against its Founder. He joins Waverton as a Portfolio Manager, reporting to the firm’s Head of Private Clients Rupert Elwes. Cottrell started his investment career at CG Asset Management in 2013. This was followed by a one-year stint at Cazenove Capital before making the switch to Odey, where he specialised in running portfolios for professional investors, retail clients and entrepreneurs. (Dylan Lobo, 7/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Waverton offers former Odey Wealth director a home')

Private equity-backed advice group Progeny has appointed Tom Wood to replace Steven Allen as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as it looks for new investment. Wood has advised and invested in private equity-backed firms for the past seven years. Between 2017 and 2019, he was Chief Restructuring and Financial Officer at the Co-Operative Bank. In this role, he co-advised on the bank’s third recapitalisation – restructuring the bank’s mix of debt and equity. Before this, Wood was CEO and CFO at Shawbrook Bank, leading its initial public offering. (Zachariah Sharif, 7/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Progeny changes CFO as it looks for new investment')

In further news...Progeny has appointed Tim Gillman to the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO). Gillman previously worked at Australian-based Link Group as COO for three years. Prior to that, he was COO at First Bank of Nigeria (FBN). He also spent 13 years at Barclays, where he first started off at the bank on its graduate leadership programme. He left the bank as Managing Director for business banking and consumer-lending operations. (Darius McQuaid, 27/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'Progeny appoints Gillman to COO')

Tim Sargisson has left Schroders-owned Benchmark Capital after just eight months. The reason for his depature has not been disclosed. While the advice group searches for a replacement, Peter O’Sullivan, who was set to retire after a 36-year career in financial services, will resume his former position as Managing Director of Benchmark Financial Planning. A well-known name in the advice profession, Sargisson was CEO of advice network Sandringham Financial Partners, which had 180 planners, between 2015 and 2022. (Zachariah Sharif, 7/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Benchmark boss Sargisson exits after eight months')

​Regional Director of Rathbones’ Bristol office James Fox has retired after 30 years with the business. Fox joined Rathbones in 1994, having started his career in stockbroking ten years earlier. Fox is replaced by Amos Nelson, who has become the new Regional Director of the firm’s Bristol office. Nelson has worked closely with James Fox as Investment Director. He is a chartered member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and sits on Rathbones’ collectives research committee. (Caroline Hug, 2/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'Rathbones Bristol head James Fox retires after 30 years')

7IM-owned Partners Wealth Management (PWM) has promoted Fiona Oliver to Managing Partner, with former Managing Director James Roberts becoming Head of Strategy and Proposition for private wealth in the wider 7IM group. Oliver joined PWM in 2016 as Business Director. Before that, she was a Financial Planner at national advice firm Towry, before its acquisition by Tilney, which later became Evelyn Partners. Roberts co-founded PWM in 2004. In his new role, as Head of Strategy and Proposition for 7IM’s private wealth business, Roberts is tasked with replicating much of what PWM does in other businesses within the group. (Zachariah Sharif, 1/2/2024, Citywire Wealth Manager, 'New head for 7IM’s £3bn advice unit as founder takes strategy role')

​Abrdn’s Head of Financial Planning Sarah Deaves has left the business after two years. Before joining Abrdn, Deaves held senior leadership positions in a range of major wealth management businesses in the UK. These included Schroders Personal Wealth, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS Group, where she was the first female Chief Executive of Coutts. (Lois Vallely, 29/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'Abrdn loses financial planning boss as II takes over advice business')

The Personal Finance Society (PFS) board has appointed Ben Wright as a new Director of the organisation. Wright is a Chartered Financial Planner and fellow of the PFS based in Sheffield. He will serve for an initial four-year term, with his first board meeting on 21 March. Wright is the Founder and Director of progress at financial services consultancy firm, Change Squared. (Lois Vallely, 29/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'PFS names chartered financial planner Ben Wright as new board member')

​National adviser network Vision Independent Financial Planning has announced changes to its leadership structure. Zoe King, formerly Managing Director at Vision IFP, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. She replaces Paul Sweaton, who moves to the role of Executive Chair. King joined Vision IFP in 2010 and has held several roles within the business, including Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer. Sweaton co-founded Vision IFP in October 2008. (Momodou Musa Touray, 12/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'Vision IFP restructures leadership team')

Financial-advice network The Openwork Partnership has appointed Sara Bennison as Independent Non-Executive Director to the board of Openwork Holdings Limited. She joins from a distinguished career with global advertising agencies followed by 15 years in financial services. She has previously worked for Barclays and then Nationwide, where she was Chief Executive of The Mortgage Works and latterly Chief Product and Marketing Officer and a member of the group executive committee. (Lois Vallely, 9/2/2024, Money Marketing, 'Openwork welcomes Sarah Bennison as new non-exec director')

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