November 2018 Review
November was a busy month as mass acquirers looked to complete on transactions in time for December.
Quilter Private Client Advisers successfully completed on three acquisitions making it the most active acquirer in the market in November. All three were retiring IFAs with the businesses folding into the relevant regional hubs.
AFH released a trading update covering the 12 months to October 31st which showed a 60% increase in AUM. The consolidator continued their buying spree throughout the month with two acquisitions, CWP Financial Services and Premier Wealth Management with the two transactions totalling circa £3.81m of payable consideration. CWPs Bob Perry will retire, whilst at Premier Wealth all staff, including the principles, will continue
Interestingly owner of Premier Wealth, Richard Evans, has suggested that a key reason for selling was the rising professional indemnity (PI) fees, the cost of complying with Mifid II and the impact these have on providing a fully compliant and cost-competitive proposition. These sentiments are certainly shared by many of the IFAs we speak with on a daily basis and they will continue to play a role in the consolidation taking place in the sector.
Regional IFA acquirer Acumen Financial Partnership, based in Lancashire, has acquired Wyre Investment and Financial Management, adding two staff and circa £40m in assets under advice. This brings the total headcount at Acumen to 17 including 8 advisers.
In platform news, AJ Bell announced its intention to float in early 2019 and we have seen their profits rise by 31% in the year to September 30th - £28.4m pre-tax. They plan to free-float 25% of their share capital and it is expected that the firm will qualify for inclusion in the FTSE UK Indices.
In the wider industry, asset manager Gresham House acquired Livingbridge VC for £40m, resulting in a 25% increase in funds under management now totalling £2bn.
Going into December, 2018 is shaping up to be an exceptional year for Wealth Management M&A activity.