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Financial Services Newsletter - Wednesday 7th February

07 Feb 2018

Market News

Xafinity have announced the acquisition of Punter Southall Group’s Actuarial Consulting, Pension Administration and Investment Consulting business has been completed.

Paradigm Norton has merged with London-based Financial Planner The Red House to create a firm with 55 staff. Paradigm Norton now has offices located in Bristol, Torquay and London. The combined firm will use the Paradigm Norton name with Red House rebranding. The Red House, a firm led by high profile Financial Planner Ruth Sturkey, is based in Farringdon, London.

Franklin Templeton has agreed to purchase Scottish fund boutique Edinburgh Partners for an undisclosed sum. Founder of the business Sandy Nairn will be appointed Chair of Templeton Global Equity Group, reporting to the company’s Head of Equities Stephen Dover, and will continue to serve as Chief Executive of Edinburgh as a subsidiary. Edinburgh Partners currently employs 12 Asset Managers running around $10bn (£7.2bn) in client funds. Templeton currently manages $101bn.

Brewin Dolphin has signed papers to establish a new office in a Grade II listed building in London's West End. The national wealth firm has signed a 10-year lease on 8 Waterloo Place, St James's, which is owned by Barings Real Estate Advisers. Brewin's new branch is 5,309 square foot, with the rent equating to £102.50 per square foot.  The firm intends to open the office later this year.

In further news, Brewin Dolphin’s assets under management (AUM) increased by 3.5% to £41.5bn in the last quarter of 2017. Of the total funds, £35.3bn are managed on a discretionary basis, an increase of 4.4% over the period, after the firm saw £700m in net inflows. Total income was up 10.8% to £79m. Over the last 12 months, the company’s managed portfolio service (MPS) has seen a significant jump in total assets. Its AUM reached £2.5bn at the end of 2017, an increase of 56.3% over the year.

Westfield Health has bought 140 year-old cash plan provider Bolton & District Hospital Saturday Council (BDHSC), which trades as UK Healthcare, for an undisclosed fee. The acquisition is part of Westfield Health’s expansion plans and follows its relocation and expansion into new headquarters in Sheffield city centre in 2016 to enable it to expand into a broader range of health and wellbeing markets.

Insurance organisation Aviva uses its all-employee share schemes to retain and engage its 28,000 global employees. In the UK, the organisation’s annual UK engagement survey, Voice of Aviva, compiled in September and October 2016, found that the overall engagement score for employees who participated in one of its share schemes was 76%, compared to an overall engagement score of 66% for employees who did not do so. The 10% point difference in employee engagement linked to employee share scheme participation was used as part of the approval process to launch Aviva’s global employee share scheme in November 2017 with deductions beginning in January 2018. To date, 47% of global employees have joined the scheme.

In further news, Aviva UK is exiting the international private medical insurance, with existing and new customers in future to be offered terms by Aetna International. Aviva UK will stop offering IPMI cover from 1 May 2018. Existing Aviva customers who renew their policy will then become Aetna customers and will no longer have a relationship with Aviva. Aetna currently covers more than 700,000 members worldwide, including expatriates, local nationals and business travelers. It offers benefits across medical, dental, vision and emergency assistance and, in some regions, life and disability. They also offers customized technological and health management solutions for health care systems, government entities and large employers.

St James’s Place has increased its Qualified Adviser numbers by 246 people over the year to 31 December 2017. According to its fourth quarter trading update, the business now has 3,661 Advisers, an increase of 7%, within 2,415 partner businesses. The company saw net inflows of over £2.8bn in the quarter, £9.5bn overall for the year, driving funds under management up 20% to £90.7bn.

Harwood, the listed wealth management firm, started its new financial year with three acquisitions, shelling out a total of £2.16m. The business acquired Finance For Life for a total consideration of £900,000 in November, of which £500,000 was paid upon completion. Later that month, the firm said it also agreed to buy Peter John Vickery's financial advice business. The transaction completed on 12 December following an initial payment of £100,000. The company’s third acquisition, the purchase of Anthony Harding & Partners, was completed on 10 January for a total consideration of £1.1m , of which £600,000 was paid upfront. The remaining balance is based on future revenue over the next two years.

The SimplyBiz Group has launched a new end-to-end financial planning system, available free of charge to SimplyBiz Group Members via a staged roll-out. The system is powered by Defaqto, Centra and provides a ‘one stop shop’ for Advisers, offering access to goals-based financial planning tools, product research, pre-populated suitability reports and a complete centralised investment process. SimplyBiz says the system has been developed following feedback from Advisers seeking a more streamlined process for providing advice and a one-stop-shop for all their reports and tools. Centra will be rolled out to Members of The SimplyBiz Group over the first quarter of this year, with practical demonstrations and workshops taking place at the Group’s upcoming events and a dedicated on-boarding team dedicated to helping Advisers get up and running on the system. 

Employee benefits provider Personal Group has revamped its benefits package for its 250 UK-based employees. Its enhanced package includes the introduction of private medical insurance as a core benefit, access to an employee loan scheme, and increased basic holiday allowance from 24 days a year to 25 days a year. As well as enhancing maternity and paternity pay, amending its bereavement and emergency leave - dividing it into 2 seperate policies and upgrading cars and refresher driver safety training for the Group's sales team. The enhanced benefits provision will sit alongside Personal Group’s existing core benefits, which include worldwide travel insurance for staff and their families; salary sacrifice schemes for cars, bikes, home technology, parking and holiday purchase; retail discounts; gym membership; access to an employee assistance programme (EAP), and a non-contributory pension scheme.

Stackhouse Poland has bought Lancashire-based Caprica Healthcare, the specialist provider of private medical insurance services to commercial and private clients. The acquisition more than doubles the existing health insurance broking activities of the Stackhouse Poland Group.

Charles Stanley assets under management moved towards £25bn on the back of a rise in demand for its discretionary services.  In a brief trading update, the wealth firm said assets under management rose by 2.5% in the final three months of 2017 to hit £24.9bn. Charles Stanley said assets were boosted by 'encouraging' inflow to its higher margin discretionary services, partly driven by clients upgrading from advisory services (£0.2bn) and from new clients (£0.2bn).  The bulk of the AUM increase was driven by market growth, with the FTSE UK Private Investor Balanced Index increasing by 3.6% over the same period.

In further news, Charles Stanley is opening a new branch in Southampton, creating what it has dubbed its second ‘super office’ with assets of just under £450m. The branch will house 10 staff and offer bespoke investment management and financial planning, as well as services for professional intermediaries. The new regional hub has been created through the merger of two existing branches in Wimborne and Isle of Wight. David Holmes, who served as head of the Wimborne branch, will now be Branch Manager for Southampton.

 


 

Market Movers and Shakers

Jacobs Financial in West Yorkshire has bolstered its paraplanning team with the senior appointment of Christopher Sheard who was previously the Director of Paraplanning at the Tilney Group.

Following a recent acquisition, Elevation have hired Rob Venvil as a Senior Financial Planner from European Financial Planning to look after their new client bank.

Mercer’s financial planning team has made a key hire for the Midland and South West by hiring Eileen Kendrick as Regional Sales Manager. Prior to this Eileen held Regional Manager roles at NFU Mutual and HSBC. 

Wealth Wizards in Leamington Spa has bolstered its financial planning team by hiring Peter Wallin as a Chartered Financial Planner. Prior to joining Wealth Wizards, Peter spent over 30 years at the NFU Mutual in Stratford upon Avon. 

Julius Baer International has appointed ex-Barclays Wealth and Investment Director Calum Brewster to spearhead its regional push. Brewster joins Julius Baer as Managing Director and Head of its UK regional offices.  

Anderson Strathern Asset Management has hired a series of senior Wealth Managers. Fiona Gillespie joins the business as Senior Investment manager from Standard Life Aberdeen, whilst Phillip Ross will take up the Wealth Manager role and Nick Paul joins as Chartered Wealth Manager.

Baillie Gifford will appoint five new partners to its firm from the start of May with four are set to retire. Citywire AA-rated Sarah Whitley, head of the firm’s Japanese equity team, fixed income partners Stephen Rodger and Ken Barker, and Pete Cooke, partner with responsibility for clients in the long-term global growth strategy, will all retire on 30 April. Effective from the following day, the new Partners will be Japanese Equity and Multi-asset Investment Managers AA-rated Matthew Brettand James Squires, along with Amy Atack, a Director with responsibility for clients in emerging markets strategies, Nick Wood, a Director with responsibility for US Financial Intermediary clients, and Evan Delaney, Director of Business Risk and Internal Audit.

Rathbones has hired David Stangroom as Financial Planning Manager to bolster its team in Newcastle.

Smith & Williamson’s (S&W) UK Equity Income Fund Manager Tineke Frikkee is set to leave the firm and will be replaced by Mark Swain. Swain will remain a Deputy on the Enterprise fund and (S&W) Williamson UK Equity Growth fund. The group also revealed that John Anderson, who is retiring as of the 1 February, will be replaced on the fixed interest fund by the firm’s Head of Fixed Interest Ian Kenny.

Close Brothers has announced that Jonathan Howell, Group Finance Director, will leave the company after 10 years. The company will now start a formal search for his successor; Howell will remain in his current role and a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors until the annual general meeting in November 2018.

Co-operative Bank, the retail and commercial bank, has appointed a new Chairman to succeed Dennis Holt. Bob Dench, who has been Chairman of Paragon Banking Group since 2007, will join the board as Chairman on 14 March 2018.

Sanlam UK has appointed former Chief of Staff at Barclays Wealth, David Mason as its Chief Operating Officer.

MetLife has appointed its Executive Vice President, James Reid as Head of its Global Employee Benefits (GEB) business. 

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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