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Financial Services Newsletter - Tuesday 5th February 2019

05 Feb 2019

Market News

Standard Life Aberdeen has formed a new robo-advice firm as it looks to build up the digital capabilities of its national advice business, 1825, Wealth Manager sister title New Model Adviser has revealed.  Last month a new company was formed on Companies House, Standard Life Digital Solutions, with 1825 Financial Planning its sole shareholder. One of the firm’s three directors is 1825 chief executive Julie Scott. In a statement sent to New Model Adviser, a spokeswoman for SLA said the new business was part of the group’s plans to use robo-advice to give more people access to advice.

Progeny Group is on the verge of acquiring a trio of firms. The wealth boutique's Managing Director Neil Moles said he expects the firm to seal the deals in the coming weeks, which will strengthen its presence in the south and north of England. Moles, a former Wealth Manager cover star, said the new additions will have a significant impact on the group’s assets under management (AUM) and double its total headcount to 125 people. The move is part of a national programme of acquisitions, as the firm, which already has five offices across the country, grows its business. Moles confirmed it is in discussions with more firms as it plans further expansion later in 2019.

Quilter Private Client Advisers has bought two Financial Planning firms. Acquiring the companies, Freedom Financial Planning and Stephen Spires Financial Consultants, will add around £130m in AUA to the national advice business. Clients of Freedom Financial Planning will be serviced from Quilter Private Client Advisers’ Chester office.

Acquisitive Wealth Manager Kingswood has bought Oxfordshire IFA firm Thomas & Co in a deal worth up to £3.3m. London-based Kingswood today announced it had acquired the Thomas & Co business for a maximum cash sum of £3.3m, adding £150m in assets under advice and increasing its client numbers to 4,500 with a total of £1.9bn under advice. The deal involves an initial cash payment of £1.5m and a further deferred sum of a maximum of £1.8m subject to revenue and profitability over a three-year period. In the year to 31 December 2017, Thomas & Co made a pre-tax profit of £460,000.

Broadstone Group has expanded further into the employee benefit consultancy sector, with the acquisition of Liverpool-based CS Financial Solutions. CS Financial Solutions (CSFS), which includes CS Trustees, will become fully integrated within the Broadstone Group. It will help serve the company’s client base, both in the UK and through its Assurex Global network. This latest purchase follows Broadstone’s recent acquisitions of Mitchell Consulting and 2020 Trustees.

A former JM Finn and Brewin Dolphin Investment Manager has teamed up with an Associate Professor of Finance at Liverpool University to establish a new discretionary wealth firm. Gavin Budd, who left JM Finn in 2017, has named his new business Crossing Point Investment. He has recruited Dr Mike Buckle as an Investment Manager, who is currently an Associate Professor of finance at Liverpool University and the Director of studies for the MSc in banking and finance. He chairs Crossing Point’s investment management committee and has worked closely with Evans in developing the firm’s investment process.

Kingswood has continued its effort to become a ‘nationally recognised’ name in wealth management and advice with a £3.3 million deal for Oxfordshire-based advice firm Thomas & Co Financial Services. In a market statement, Kingswood, which recently rebranded from European Wealth, also announced it had launched a new managed portfolio service (MPS). The AIM-listed wealth manager said this morning it has acquired advice firm Thomas & Co for an initial payment of £1.5 million with further deferred sums possible of £1.8 million – dependent on certain revenue and profit targets.

National IFA Frenkel Topping finished a challenging 2018 with assets under management rising to £778 million. Despite going through what it described as a 'softer trading period' in June, the injury specialist advice business increased the amount of new assets added by 43% over 2018 compared with 2017. 

Consolidator Perspective Financial Group has made its first acquisition of 2019 with the purchase of Newcastle upon Tyne-based IFA Galloway Whitfield (Life and Pensions). The acquisition will add £50 million of assets to Perspective and around £300,000 of annual turnover. 

Steven Gerrard is the latest high-profile former footballer to take legal action against their Wealth Manager following the crackdown on tax avoidance schemes. The current Rangers boss and former Liverpool captain is among hundreds of investors who have launched a £100 million lawsuit against HSBC's private banking division, claiming it defrauded them. Composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber is also said to be among those suing the bank. A total of 248 investors put money in a film investment scheme operated by Ingenious Media.

Financial planning group NextGen Planners is launching an 'X Factor style' boot camp aimed at attracting top graduate talent into the profession. The event, which will be held in March 2019 in conjunction with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), will see 30 final year undergraduates put through their paces with the aim of impressing 20 employers. Contestants will come from MMU's financial planning and economics courses. They will compete to earn placements with planning firms in attendance. 

Mattioli Woods has launched a new Trainee Consultant programme for aspiring Advisers. The national advice firm told New Model Adviser it has introduced a 26-week plan to foster small groups of Trainee Advisers in a classroom setting, two days a week. The first programme is being led by Mattioli Woods Technical Director George Houston at its Leicester office.

Goldman Sachs has taken a stake in Robo-Adviser Nutmeg as part of a £45 million funding round. The Wall Street giant's Principal Strategic Investments (PSI) group is one of the largest among a group of investors taking part in the latest round of funding. Goldmans' contribution has helped make it the largest ever fundraise by a Digital Wealth Manager in Europe. Hong Kong's largest independent financial advice firm, Convoy, is also investing further in Nutmeg following its initial backing of the Robo-Adviser just over two years ago. This comes as part of an enhanced strategic partnership between the two firms ahead of expansion in Asia. 

Punter Southall Aspire has acquired Dorset-based IFA Coleman Financial Services, boosting its assets under advice by £275 million as it bids to become a national advice business. The acquisition will add around 450 retail clients and 130 corporate clients to Punter Southall Aspire, as well as 24 staff members based across Poole, Exeter and Southampton.

Consolidator AFH has announced the acquisition of a West Midlands-based IFA adding £100 million of assets under administration. Hayburn Rock Group, including its subsidiary firms, has become the latest advice business to be bought by AFH. Founded in 1996, Hayburn Rock is based in a former school building in Stourbridge and has 10 advisers servicing around £100 million of client assets. The firm made profit before tax of £400,000 for 2017 on sales of £2.1 million.




Market Movers and Shakers

Kingswood Holdings – which traded as European Wealth until 2017 before rebranding its public face KW Wealth – has announced that Chief Executive Marianne Ismail is to exit after just 18 months at the helm. The departure ‘with immediate effect’ will leave Kingswood group Deputy Executive Chair Gary Wilder in charge and suggests another round of uncertainty as the parent group strategically re-orientates the business. Wilder is a founder partner of ultimate parent Kingswood Property Finance.

Alison Lander
has called time on her two-decade career at Coutts, joining UBS as Director of its Newcastle office. Lander was an Executive Director and Team Leader at the private bank from 1998 to October last year, joining the Newcastle office in 2015. Previously she worked at at Natwest, which she joined in 1990. The newly appointed Director will develop the business in the north east and work with clients in the region. UBS regional head Aidan Dunstan said: 'Alison is one of the most highly respected wealth management professionals in the North East. 'Her depth of knowledge of the region and experience will be invaluable as we continue to grow our offer.'

Redmayne Bentley has hired Charles Stanley Senior Investment Manager Jon Goldstone as it bolsters its new central Manchester office. Goldstone formerly headed Charles Stanley’s Manchester branch and has 50 years’ experience in wealth and financial services. He left Charles Stanley at the end of October, alongside five other Investment Managers, following a dispute with management.

Sesame Network, part of Sesame Bankhall Group (SBG), has bolstered new business growth with the appointment of a new Business Development Director. David Jennings has been appointed to the newly created role. He was previously Senior Regional Sales Manager at Sesame and will now take on a wider remit, which includes the recruitment team responsible for bringing on board new mortgage and protection firms into the firm.

Leeds-based Leodis Wealth Asset Management has appointed Simon Cocking in the newly-created role of Chief Executive. Cocking joined the firm in 2013 as a director to work alongside Director Paul Smith, who is stepping down from the board ahead of his retirement next year. Smith led Leodis after it was spun out of Leeds law firm Lupton Fawcett as a seperately regulated asset management business in 2014, having joined the group in 2002.

Brewin Dolphin
has hired a Wealth Director from Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management, as part of its drive to expand its London-based high-net-worth advice business 1762. The business has appointed Furqan Sheikh, taking the total headcount at its St James’s office to 27. At Canaccord, Sheikh specialised in providing advice to clients operating in technology, media and telecoms sectors.

Mattioli Woods’ Chief Operating Officer Mark Smith has left the Wealth Manager after nearly 20 years at the Leicester-based business. Smith who oversaw compliance and operations at the advice and wealth management firm, told New Model Adviser® his exit was amicable and he is now looking for new opportunities.

St James's Place
has appointed Emma Hunt as head of responsible investing as it looks to increase take-up of ethical funds and improve its environmental, social and governance (ESG) offering. Hunt has previously focused on ESG investing at Hermes, Towers Watson and Mercer. She will lead SJP's responsible investment offering, which will include working with Advisers and their clients. 

Hertfordshire-based Hanbury Wealth Management has appointed Martyn Allum as its new Managing Director. Allum has worked in financial services for 39 years, previously holding roles at Tees Law and Tees Financial as Executive Director of the financial services division and Managing Director, respectively.

Whitechurch Securities Managing Director Gavin Haynes left the discretionary Fund Manager at the end of December 2018, the company has announced. Chair of the Bristol-based business Kean Seager will take on day-to-day management on an interim basis, while Haynes's asset management responsibilities will be shared across the funds team.

Walker Crips Investment Management CEO Rushton to exit. There was yet another big change at the top, this time at Walker Crips Investment Management as the group’s Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer, Mark Rushton, left the firm. Also a Board Director, Rushton will depart the company on 28 February 2019, with the group's CEO Sean Lam taking on the dual role of Chief Executive of Walker Crips Investment Management.

Hargreave Hale trio exit to set up Raymond James firm. Elsewhere Wealth Manager revealed that Hargreave Hale branch principal Neil Jones left with his colleagues Ian Kavanagh and Victoria Macdonald to set up their own wealth firm, Manorbridge Investment Management. Manorbridge, which is based in London’s Fitzrovia, will operate as a Raymond James company and becomes its 11th outpost in the capital and its 62nd across the UK.

UBS and C Hoare veteran joins family office start-up. Owl Private Office, the wealth advisory firm set up by Lord North Street alumni, hired a UBS Wealth Management and C Hoare veteran as a Partner. Aisling McArdle was latterly the CEO of a single family office and was also previously the Director of investments for a Forbes 500 single family office in New York.

In other news… Alison Lander called time on her two-decade career at Coutts, joining UBS as Director of its Newcastle office, where she will develop the business in the north east and work with clients in the region.

Julian Menges, the ex-head of Quilter’s £1 billion managed portfolio service (MPS), reunited with a former colleague after joining Salisbury-based boutique Casterbridge Wealth. He takes charge of the five-strong investment team previously led by the Wealth Manager’s Chief Executive, Keith Edwards, another Quilter alumni who left the firm at the same time as Menges, having held the post of Executive Director.

Brown Shipley bolstered its Manchester office with the hire of Lee Ramsden from Barclays Wealth. Ramsden, who has 13 years' experience in the financial industry, joins as Client Director.

Seven Investment Management (7IM) Senior Investment Manager Simon Moore, an investment trust specialist, left after two years at the firm. Moore previously spent seven years as head of research at Wealth Manager Tilney Bestinvest. He departed in 2016 amid a restructure of its research functions, following the acquisition of Towry and Ingenious Asset Management.

Quilter Cheviot’s Liverpool office head, Simon Walker, stepped down, handing his responsibilities to executive director Nigel Hibbert. Hibbert and Walker founded the then-Cheviot’s first office outside London in Liverpool in 2011, having previously been long-term colleagues at Deutsche Bank and Tilney.

Lander was an Executive Director and team leader at the Private Bank from 1998 to October 2018, joining the Newcastle office in 2015.

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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