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Financial Services Newsletter - Friday 2nd October 2020

02 Oct 2020

M&G is radically overhauling its advice business in a move that will put 250 of its Advisers at risk of redundancy. The provider, previously known for its Man from the Pru tied salesforce, relaunched its advice business in 2011 with Prudential Financial Planning serving its own Prudential customer base. It has since grown, employing around 360 restricted Advisers.

Aviva Financial Advice is axing around 60 Adviser roles in a strategic overhaul of the unit. The cuts represent a two-thirds reduction in the number of Advisers employed by the insurance giant, whose current roster stands at some 100 planners. Overall, the business will be losing 79 roles, with the number of Managers falling by 16 and a small number of support roles also scrapped.

NextGen Planners has launched a 12-month programme to support Financial Planners who want to either start their own business or who have recently started one. The programme, titled 'Blast Off', will help Financial Planners grow their new business by helping them boost their skills to become a better Entrepreneur. It will be delivered virtually and is designed to have a 50% focus on upskilling the Entrepreneur.

It is with great sadness that we report the untimely passing of Curtis Banks Group Communications Director Greg Kingston, aged 47. Greg took the opportunity to go to the Alps with a friend on his beloved motorbike when lockdown restrictions were lifted. While returning to his hotel on foot, he was struck by a car and succumbed to his injuries.

There is still a long way to go on diversity in financial services, but some businesses are making progress. St James’s Place (SJP) head of inclusion and diversity Vicki Foster explains what the UK’s largest advice company is doing. "Each practice owner has their own thoughts on what diversity looks like. It’s not about ticking boxes and saying ‘we want three women, one man’. It is different in every partner practice. We have sole-traders, individual partners, and much bigger practices. We are doing more work with some of the partner practices. That is in its infancy but involves providing information and being a point of contact."

The FCA has banned a Financial Adviser who was jailed for promoting two fraudulent investment schemes that lost 21 Investors £2.3m from holding any position in a regulated financial firm. Simon Oakley pleaded guilty to two counts of making misleading, false or deceptive statements in October 2017. 

Quilter’s advice arm has not had an easy year. High-profile departures, financial losses and complaints stemming from acquisitions have all hit the national advice firm in 2020. The highest profile departure was that of Quilter Financial Planning Chief Executive Andy Thompson, in June. Under Thompson, Quilter Financial Planning, formerly the Intrinsic network, grew considerably with a string of acquisitions. While ambitious deals to buy national advice firms Charles Derby and Lighthouse took Quilter’s Adviser numbers to over 3,900 across the UK, they also created a business that was not always singing from the same hymn book. And in the case of Lighthouse, the takeover created a headache for Quilter.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has paid out £2m over 58 claims against collapsed Sipp provider Berkeley Burke. The lifeboat fund said it has received a total of 1,694 claims against the Sipp provider, of which 58 have so far been successful and 32 have been unsuccessful.

AIM-listed Wealth Management Group and financial advice business consolidator AFH has been shoring up its bank balance by paying off hundreds of thousands of pounds in debt in a bid to reassure investors. In a trading update issued to the markets this morning, the group said it had made the move following a hit to its new business figures.

Cheshire-based Equilibrium Financial Planning is on the cusp of completing its pledge to walk four million steps - the equivalent of the distance from Manchester to Athens - in September to raise money for East Cheshire Hospice. The challenge is part of the company’s goal to raise £4m for charity by 2028.

Members of the NextGen Planners training contract who took the AF5 exam achieved a 95% pass rate in August, compared to the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) national pass rate of 58%. NextGen Planners Director Adam Owen said that despite the disruption of Covid-19 and the remote exams, the latest set of results have been ‘excellent’ among members of the training contract, with 20 first-time passes in the CII’s R0 exams.

The FTSE 100 has fallen after Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 just weeks before the US presidential election. The US president, 74, and wife Melania both tested positive and will now enter quarantine. The FTSE 100 fell 20 points, or 0.5%, to 5,850 on the news while other global markets were also knocked.

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment has named Pippa Oldfield, Assistant Manager, at Mazars UK as its Paraplanner Of The Year. The award and £750 was presented to Ms Oldfield at the CISI Paraplanner Annual Conference, held virtually this week due to the Coronavirus.


Royal London and LV are in talks to create a mega-mutual company through a Merger, according to reports. It is understood that discussions are at an advanced stage over a planned takeover of LV by Royal London, joining the Pensions, Life Insurance and Asset Management businesses of the pair into a business with some 10 million UK customers.

Investment platform 7IM has acquired London-based Financial Planning firm Partners Wealth Management. Partners Wealth Management (PWM) was founded in 2004 and has over £2bn of assets under management. The Financial Planner will be ringfenced and will continue to operate as an independent company from 7IM, retaining its brand, identity and leadership. However, the deal will see integration of some back-office functions, with PWM also benefiting from 7IM’s technological capabilities. 

Chartered Financial Planning firm Fairstone has signed up the eighth firm this year to its buy-out programme – West Midlands-based Complete Financial Planning. The new deal brings the total of funds under management added through Fairstone’s ‘Downstream Buy-out’ programme so far this year to more than £1.2bn.

Liontrust’s Asian Income
team is joining Somerset Capital, while its European Income and Macro Thematic arms are being shut down in a major restructure of the business. The move will see the £82m Asian Income team of Mark Williams, Carolyn Chan and Shashank Savla, join Somerset. The right to manage the Liontrust Asia Income fund is part of the deal, while the Liontrust GF Asia Income fund will be shut.

Sense Network has been bought by a consortium of investors for £9.4m after an ‘extensive’ period of negotiation with shareholders. Adviser Services Holdings Limited (ASHL) will take over ownership of the Adviser network in a deal that is currently subject to FCA approval.

Consolidator Perspective has acquired Bradford-on-Avon-based IFA Jones Hill in a deal that will bring in £44m in assets under management (AuM). Jones Hill was founded in 1996 and advises ex-military personnel and their families. The firm advises 160 clients.

Lichtenstein private bank LGT has bought the remaining equity held by the original Partners in Vestra, taking full ownership of the UK Wealth Manager. The  deal comes four years after it took a majority stake in Vestra, which was founded a decade earlier when UBS Private Banker David Scott led a walk-out by a series of London-based colleagues.

Gary Jasper has left his position at Tilney to join Arbuthnot Latham in London, he has joined as a Senior Financial Planner.

Leading Wealth Manager Tilney, part of the recently merged Tilney Smith & Williamson group, has further expanded its International business development team with the hire of Maurice Keane and Jeremy Bezant to its Tilney for Professionals arm. Reporting to Head of Business Development Craig Wright, Maurice joins as Head of International Business Development, while Jeremy will be Business Development Manager.

Tilney Smith & Williamson have made further appointments, which include John Bunch as Chief Commercial Director and Mayank Prakash as Chief Technology Officer and a member of the Group Executive Committee.

The Personal Finance Society (PFS) has announced Sarah Lord will replace Adam Owen as its next President. Lord is currently Chief Client Officer for Succession Wealth and is responsible for the client and brand strategy. Prior to Succession, Lord was a Partner at Mazars and Partner at Killik & Co, where she headed the wealth planning operation in both the UK and the Middle East.

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment has appointed experienced Financial Planner Amyr Rocha Lima CFP Chartered MCSI as Chairman of its influential CISI Financial Planning Forum Committee.

The new Chief Executive of the FCA, Nikhil Rathi, will begin work at the regulator in October. His appointment was announced in June by the Treasury and he will replace interim CEO Christopher Woolard who will move on from the FCA to head a review of regulation.

Brown Shipley, part of Quintet Private Bank, has recruited two experienced Wealth Managers from UBS Wealth Management to boost its growth plans in Scotland. Matt Hoyne moves from UBS Wealth Management to become Head of the Edinburgh office and will work alongside Gerard Wilson to help expand Brown Shipley’s presence in Scotland.

Prudential UK parent company M&G has appointed ex-Aegon Director David Montgomery to lead its new £28bn wealth management division, the business has announced.

Close Brothers has hired James Ballinger from robo-adviser Moneyfarm to lead its London advice practice. 

Brooks Macdonald has named Edward Park as Chief Investment Officer (CIO), replacing company Co-Founder Richard Spencer.

7IM has hired former Close Brothers Managing Director for advice Colin Rowe to run its private client business. Rowe joins following four years at Close, where he was responsible for building the company’s midlands hub, as well as driving its national acquisition strategy. Former Aegon UK Chief Executive Adrian Grace has been appointed as Chairman. 

Platform provider James Hay’s long-standing Chief Executive Alastair Conway is stepping down. Conway, who has overseen James Hay since 2013, will be replaced by Richard Rowney.


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



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