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Clarity of vision needed if consolidators are to endure: Bellpenny

The chief executive of national consolidator Bellpenny said that many of those that have started to buy but do not have the “strategy, clarity of vision and financial strength” to back up their plans will find they cannot survive – and sooner, rather than later.

Mr Ronaldson, whose company has been buying firms from as far afield as Scotland, the Midlands and the South-West, added that, in 2012, he had not envisaged so many quality advisory firms coming onto the radar, as in the lead-up to the implementation of the RDR these firms were busy going through a “significant shift” in the way they charge, deliver advice and operate.

However since then, he has spoken to approximately 150 firms – some of which have approached him, while others have been introduced – and 15 of those have become part of Bellpenny.

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When asked if there were any other imminent deals, he said: “We have some in the pipeline.”

In January, the Reading-based consolidator purchased two additional firms. London-based Actuarial & Investment Services, brought with it £75m funds under management, while Birmingham-based The Hammond Consultancy had a total of £112m FUM.

Mr Ronaldson, who became a financial planner in 1979, said he understood how advisory firms worked and would ensure that Bellpenny could grow both organically and through strategic acquisition.

When asked about the Bellpenny model, which is underpinned by financial backing from US capital management company Oaktree, he said: “We are clear about the Bellpenny model from the start. This is explained clearly to firms and they buy into that, seeing that we have many years of experience in the IFA market, as well as a strong financial backer.”

He said that Oaktree is “very helpful, very supportive” but it does not get involved in the integration of firms within the group – “They leave that to me to do.”

Background

Last week, Bellpenny entered a partnership with Charles Stanley Pan Asset to provide a risk-profiled range of multi-asset funds for Bellpenny advisers.

The passive model portfolio range has been risk profiled by Distribution Technology, allowing Bellpenny Financial Planners to match clients to the portfolios that best meet their requirements for risk and return.

The portfolios are powered by Pan Asset and are based on the PanAsset 1-6 range, which cost approximately 0.45 per cent a year.