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Financial Services Newsletter - Friday 3rd December 2019

03 Dec 2019

Apogee Wealth Management, a Cheshire-based Chartered Financial Planner wealth firm, has bought local IFA Premier Financial Planning UK for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, Stuart Cafferty, Managing Director of Premier, will move to Apogee to help with client transition prior to his retirement. Premier, which has clients in Cheshire and across the UK, is based in Furness Vale, about 20 miles away from Apogee which is located in Knutsford, Cheshire.

Ipswich-based Chartered Financial Planner firm SG Wealth Management have moved to new offices in their home town - a historic 16th century building. The new office, Merchant House, in the town’s Silent Street, is a 16th century timber-framed medieval merchant’s house which was once taken down and moved to a new location.

IFA network Tenet has acquired two of its member financial advisory firms in Mansfield to create a new hub in Nottinghamshire with £25m under management. The Leeds-based firm has bought Ask Financial Management and Mansfield Financial Planning, both based in Mansfield, for undisclosed sums. Tenet has already established a regional hub in Preston during 2018 and also has hubs in Northampton, Leeds, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

A Lighthouse client, whose identity remains confidential and so was called Mr W, complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) after Lighthouse advised him to transfer his retirement annuity policy (RAP) from pensions company ReAssure to a third party transferee in August 2017. The RAP transfer was "mistakenly initiated by a Lighthouse adviser", the ombudsman found and resulted in Mr W losing £19,390.68, including future charges, or £16,482.07 after tax.

Rathbones has acquired Barclays Wealth’s court of protection of business, which has £500 million of assets under management (AUM), for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, a team of 10 individuals, along with their book of 600 clients, will join Rathbones in the second quarter next year.

Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin had thinner profits due to a West End hiring spree and clients holding back from moving money into the firm. It doubled spending this year from £8 million to £16 million and £1.4 billion of inflows were down from £2.3 billion last time. “Clients have been a little more reluctant to move funds around,” said Chief Executive David Nicol. “This level of growth is better than most of our competitors who are flat or down.”.

Fairstone, one of the UK’s largest Chartered Financial Planning firms, has boosted its footprint in the North West with the acquisition of Octagon Wealth Management. The purchase for an undisclosed sum is the seventh this year by Newcastle-based Fairstone and adds to the business gross fee income of £1.1m and £150m in funds under management. Octagon Wealth Management specialises in the management of investment and retirement portfolios and  is based in Burscough, near Ormskirk. The acquisition, using Fairstone’s ‘Downstream Buy Out’ (DBO) process of gradual integration, will bring 800 clients, four advisers and five support staff.

Two former Mattioli Woods senior figures are launching their own advice consolidator business aiming to hit £50 million of revenues in five years. Mark Smith, who was Mattioli Woods’ Chief Operating Officer for 19 years before he left at the end of 2018, has teamed up with Micky Johal, who was previously the Wealth Manager’s Director of mergers and acquisitions, to launch the new firm.

Surrey-based advice firm Clear Financial Advice has announced a new charity initiative, called Clear Minds, to provide counselling sessions for people who otherwise may not be able to afford them. The charity will give out up to 20 counselling sessions with a qualified therapist to programme applicants. Barry Greening, Managing Director of Clear Financial Advice, said although the NHS does a great job, it was important for the firm to help those that needed long-term care.

Advice network Beaufort Financial has added Surrey-based Corfe Wealth Management to its list of appointed representatives. Corfe Wealth Management was launched in August this year by financial planner Christopher Webb, who wanted to help people build a 'business-plan' to achieve their 'longer-term aims.

IFAs’ offices can be found in all kinds of buildings, from industrial parks to city skyscrapers. But few of them are in a 16th-century, timber-framed merchant’s house. East Anglia IFA SG Wealth Management is now among those few. The business recently moved its Ipswich office to Merchant House, which was built 500 years ago. With the help of contractor Jackson Projects, the building was moved to its new location on Silent Street. SG Wealth Managing Director Stephen Girling said that the firm has installed the modern features needed to bring the office into the 21st century.

New national on the block, Independent Wealth Planners (IWP), has announced an ambitious growth strategy and it aims to provide IFAs with a very different service. IWP is expecting to launch as a 'national brand' in 2020, with over £2 billion of assets currently under management and a target of 50 national offices.

Brooks Macdonald has sealed a £39 million deal to buy Edinburgh-based wealth manager Cornelian Asset Management. The deal, which is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2020, will be funded by a £30 million placing at £17.75p per share. Brooks will pay £31 million up front for Cornelian, of which £22 million will be paid in cash and £9 million in the company's shares.

Investec has identified further cost cuts of £17.5 million across its banking and Wealth & Investment businesses as it continues to work through a major restructure of the business. In its interim results for the six months to the end of September, the company reported headline earnings per share were down 17.2% at 22.7p, as £45.3 million of restructuring costs, previously flagged in a September stock market warning, weighed on profits.

Investec Asset Management is set to rename itself as 'Ninety One' in a bid to separate itself from its parent company, our sister title Citywire Selector has revealed. The new identity will be rolled out following the completion of the firm’s demerger from Investec Group, which is on track to take place in the first quarter of 2020. This remains subject to shareholder approval.

Administrators of failed pension provider Berkeley Burke Sipp Administration Limited have warned that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will pick up the bill for £158 million of complaints the company faced at the time it of its collapse. In September Berkeley Burke, appointed RSM to wind the business down. The Sipp provider's client bank was sold to Hartley Pensions for £800,000, but Berkeley Burke Sipp Administration's liabilities were not taken on as part of the acquisition.

Advisers have been pulling clients out of the Jupiter Absolute Return fund because of ‘disappointing’ performance. The fund, managed by James Clunie, has endured a difficult performance streak, returning -11.4% over the past three years. These poor returns have been driven by it holding more short than long positions, reflecting the expectation of an upcoming market downswing (which is yet to happen) and a focus on value stocks that have themselves suffered in recent years.

AJ Bell is launching a new pension product designed to help Advisers provide a more suitable offering for clients looking for a simple and low-cost solution. The Retirement Investment Account (RIA), set to be launched in early 2020, is designed to be a 'low-cost' pension on platform that will sit alongside AJ Bell’s existing Sipp for Advisers.

Consolidator Succession Wealth has chosen Birmingham as the site of its new national headquarters. The new office will be located in Birmingham's central business district and will house approximately 60 wealth planners and client support staff as well as the senior leadership team, Succession said in a press statement.

AIM-listed wealth manager and support service provider Tatton is in talks with a ‘handful’ of IFAs about buying their discretionary fund manager (DFM) businesses. After its latest interim results, Tatton’s Chief Executive Paul Hogarth said he understood there to be around 700 IFAs who have their own DFM permissions and many of them have not reached the size they wanted with these wealth management launches.

Advisers should hold their ground when dealing with insistent clients on defined benefit (DB) transfer advice to avoid any future claims, the Chief Executive of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) has said. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was honing in on Advisers who have carried out insistent client DB transfers in its letter to 1,700 firms. Specifically, the FCA was asking the levels of insistent client transfers and told firms to take action if they have found any compliance shortfalls.

Private-equity backed national advice firm Ludlow Wealth Management has sealed a deal for its third acquisition of 2019 as it eyes up its target of £2 billion of assets under management. Using its financial backing by Mobeus Equity Partners, Ludlow has acquired Southport-based advice firm Ivan A Hargreaves & Co. The deal, for an undisclosed amount, follows it purchases of Liverpool-based A Letton Percival & Co and another IFA earlier this year.

Digital advice firm OpenMoney has acquired Steve Bee’s employee benefits platform Jargonfree Benefits (JFB) in a bid to expand its affordable financial advice offering to the workplace. The deal, which was completed on 1 November, means JFB will become part of the OpenMoney group. JFB founder Bee and Director Andrew Rice will continue to hold key roles in the business. As part of the deal, JFB will have access to a wide range of resources from OpenMoney, while OpenMoney will use JFB's platform of over 40,000 employees to advertise its digital advice services to workers.

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) is offering nine months full paid leave for all new parents. The asset manager has become the latest financial services company to review its parental leave policy. It follows Aviva Investors, which offers equal parental leave of up to 12 months in the UK, with 26 at full pay and Jupiter Fund Management, which offers six months equal full paid parental leave. From 1 January 2020 SLA parents expecting their first child will be given 52 weeks leave, with 40 weeks at full pay. This can be taken in up to three chunks within a two-year period of the birth or adoption. Additional paid leave and support for pre-term babies is also available. These policies are available to employees regardless of how long they have been at the company.

Exeter-based Cathedral Financial Management (CFM) has bought back the shares of its late Co-Director Tim Ames, who died aged 45 last December after a short battle with cancer. The shares have been bought by the firm’s current Director Emma Ames and her Co-Director Neil Gore through a partial buyback from the executors to Ames' estate.

‘We have so many young people thriving in the business. I’m excited about the direction we are heading in,’ says Tony Smith, Managing Director of Elevation Investment Management. The firm, established in Birmingham in 2011, is reaping the rewards of hiring young employees. ‘We have expanded to the East Midlands where Adam Cuthbert, who started as an Associate, is now a Director,’ explains Smith. Financial adviser Matt Black, who started at the business as a graduate in 2012, now runs the firm’s London office.


Seven Investment Management has hired a Credit Suisse veteran as Chief Financial Officer following the exit of Charles Sparrow, the firm's CFO of 18 years and one of the original seven founders. Duncan Walker spent 13 years at Credit Suisse in various positions, including CFO for the bank's UK private banking and MEA region.

European Wealth founder and asset management veteran John Morton has been appointed Chief Executive of Vintage Wealth Management. Broad Steet Asset Management, which was established by Morton in 2018 following his departure from European Wealth, will be absorbed by Vintage Wealth.

Quilter Cheviot has bolstered its Glasgow and Jersey offices, hiring an Investment Manager apiece from Rathbones and Brewin Dolphin. Daniel Joliffe joins Quilter Cheviot’s Jersey office from Rathbones, where he spent 18 months as an investment manager. The second hire, Murray Gillan was previously at Brewin Dolphin. A Chartered Wealth Manager, he started out in the industry with a short spell at Morgan Stanley, working as an Analyst. The company said it has hired 16 Investment Managers this year, across 10 of its regional offices. It is also set to open a 14th office in Leeds.

Platform and Sipp provider Embark has former Seven Investment Management (7IM) Chief Operating Officer Phillip Bungey to help run Zurich’s wrap platform which it has just acquired. Bungey, who joined 7IM in 2016, was previously Chief Operating Officer at Nutmeg and has also served senior positions at Barclays Stockbrokers, UBS and Lloyd’s of London. During his time at Nutmeg, Bungey established the first paperless online pension.

Nutmeg’s former Chief Investment Officer Shaun Port has joined JP Morgan as Managing Director. Port left Nutmeg in October after seven years at the firm. He played a key role in establishing the online investing service and helped to set up its ETF-based investment proposition.

St James’s Place (SJP) has hired high-profile fund management figure Helena Morrissey to its board as a Non-Executive Director in a bid to improve its 'culture and diversity’. The appointment comes as Morrissey unexpectedly left her role as head of personal investing at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) in October.

Former Aviva UK life boss Andy Briggs has been appointed Chief Executive of closed book pension provider Phoenix. Briggs, who left Aviva in April, will succeed Clive Bannister in the role next March.

Network Sesame Bankhall has announced a raft of management changes which will see Group Managing Director Martin Shultheiss leave the business after only a year in the role.

Quilter Investors has promoted Dean Bowden to Managing Director of the multi-asset business. The announcement sees Mr Bowden take on responsibility for the day to day running of Quilter Investors and he will continue to report into CEO Paul Simpson.

Consulting firm Mercer has announced the appointment of Steve Sands as leader of its UK Financial Planning Business. The firm says Mr Sands will be responsible for leading the continued integration of the JLT and Mercer Jelf Financial Planning teams into one business and for setting the strategic direction to drive further growth and further assist individuals as they plan to improve their financial wellness.

Brewin Dolphin has appointed Gary Le Quesne as Divisional Director for its Jersey office. Le Quesne was previously Managing and Investment Director at Jersey-headquartered Aberdeen Private Wealth Management, where he had spent over 19 years. 



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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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