Kent IFA plans UK-wide high net worth brand launch

Rochester-based IFA Portal financial is set to launch a new brand for bespoke high net worth clients in what the company hopes will become a nationwide, multi-office expansion.

In an interview to be published later today, Portal partners Andy Moore, chairman, and Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director, explain their expansion plans to FTAdviser, involving the launch of a new wealth management and an expansion of its existing business to target mainstream clients.

Currently a single-office operation based in Rochester, Kent, Portal Financial focuses on mid-market clients nearing retirement.

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However, it is looking to branch out on both sides of the market, with its yet-to-be-named high net worth brand on one hand and its Portal brand expanding its reach to mop up customers left abandoned by banks and other firms that have pulled out of advice since the RDR.

Mr Smith-Thompson said: “We think a certain level of people, when they get to a certain level, for instance £250,000, are going to want more face-to-face interaction and more complicated service, like tax planning for business owners.”

The first branch of this new brand will likely open in Rochester High Street towards the end of 2014, with the partners hoping to open offices across the country.

Mr Smith-Thompson added that they decided to launch an entirely new brand to differentiate from Portal Financial, which is meanwhile broadening its approach to serve mass-market clients.

“The target audience and offering is entirely different. The Portal Financial brand was designed to appeal to the masses and was very much a transactional business.

“The new holistic approach is something entirely different. So clients are really aware of the separation there.”

Portal’s mass-market move will focus on keeping business extremely efficient, with most background work being done by admin staff and paraplanners to minimise the time advisers have to spend with each given client.