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SJP in major talks to buy Asia-based Henley Group

The chief executive of the London-based wealth management company said it was going through various regulatory processes to acquire the Henley Group, a firm operating out of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.

He said: “The Henley Group has 50 professional advisers advising the expat market. It has 4000 clients and millions of assets under management so the potential for growth is big.”

Antony Michell, chief executive of the Henley Group, will be the “lead player” for SJP in its “international aspirations” and the deal is expected to be completed by the end of the first half of 2014.

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Mr Bellamy added that SJP may consider similar deals in regions such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Adviser numbers at SJP in the UK grew by 100 throughout the year. Mr Bellamy said he expected a similar number in 2014, supplemented by a “cohort” of advisers through the SJP Academy proposition.

He said this expansion reflected the natural growth of the business, with the Manchester Academy set to launch in the second half, and potentially one in Birmingham “in due course”.

Mr Bellamy added: “We are just shy of 2000 partners after 22 years so it has been a gradual build; a sustainable business that delivers.”

His comments came as the FTSE 250-listed company announced its annual results for 2013.

Net inflows in funds under management rose from £3.35bn in 2012 to £4.3bn in 2013, while profits net of tax rose from £459.7m to £674.5m during the same period.

But the distribution business lost £6.1m, compared with a profit of £5.3m in 2012, which the firm attributed to higher expenses in 2013 associated with a rise in partner numbers, up 9.5 per cent in the period.

It also paid £5.5m in levies to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Analyst view

An analyst note from Numis Securities said: “While SJP is already the UK’s third largest wealth manager, it still only has a 4-6 per cent market share in a fragmented market. We believe it has capacity to continue growing.”