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Permira buys Bestinvest and gears up for growth

Permira has bought the firm, famous in the industry for its regular ‘Spot the Dog’ exposé of poorly performing funds, from 3i for an undisclosed sum.

Peter Hall, chief executive of Bestinvest, said Permira was backing plans for “organic growth and potential acquisitions” as the firm seizes opportunities presented by RDR to fill a possible advice gap.

Mr Hall added: “In looking for a partner to support the future growth of the business, Permira stood out from the crowd in its understanding and appreciation of our distinctive ethos and its commitment to invest in the

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management team’s growth strategy.”

Permira said in a statement that it saw opportunity for consolidation in a UK wealth management industry that has remained “fragmented” post-RDR.

Bestinvest was founded in 1986 by John Spiers and initially specialised in advice on tax-efficient investments before expanding its service to include discount broking, discretionary fund management and broader financial advice.

The firm has now built up approximately £5bn in assets under management.

Spiers remained the chief executive of the company until 2006, a year before the company was acquired by 3i, and is now a non-executive director.

Adviser comment:

Alistair Cunningham, director of Surrey-based Wingate Financial Planning, said: “I am not convinced that any clients who have been cut adrift as a result of RDR – unless they are certain ex-clients of bank advisers – are the ones we want to attract as a business.

“Larger firms such as Bestinvest have the ability to throw money at technology to service clients who cannot be served elsewhere post-RDR.

“We have been expanding our own client base, but when rates have to be set at a certain level, advisers question whether it is fair to expect lower-earning clients to pay those fees.”