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Towergate Financial rebrands as Wren Sterling

Towergate Financial rebrands as Wren Sterling

Towergate Financial has changed its name to Wren Sterling following the completion of its management buyout by Palatine Private Equity last month.

As well as investing in a new brand, the firm stated today (14 April) that it is also investing heavily in new IT and back office systems.

Palatine and management are investing £14m to purchase and grow Wren Sterling and the attached mortgage advisory business John Charcol, with the deal’s leaders Tony Dickin and Andy Strickland joining both company boards.

Warren Page, chief executive of the firm, told FTAdviser that during the separation there has been a lot to rebuilding and replicating previous processes, training staff and getting them on board with the new brand.

He added that most of the new investment was being directed towards the operating platform. “The world has moved on and we need the technology to support advisers to enhance client interaction.

“It’s been a big piece of work and we’ve got external help on the project management, we’ll be choosing who we go with soon, but we haven’t made a decision yet.”

Mr Page also pointed to a continuation of working with strategic partners in the building society space, along with the accountancy profession, on things like auto-enrolment, tax planning and the new pension freedoms.

“We’ve also just started thinking about growing our advice for non-face-to-face clients, those who prefer telephone or digital solutions,” he added.

As part of the £8.6m acquisition from Towergate Insurance, the insurance group retained responsibility for “historic regulatory liabilities”, including consumer redress arising out of past business reviews into enhanced transfer values and unregulated collective investment schemes.

Preliminary financial results for 2014 revealed that independent file reviews for both investigations are ongoing and it is in continued talks with the Financial Conduct Authority, with up to £85m set aside for potential redress costs for past recommendations.

Ian Darby, the firm’s new executive chairman, noted that both the newly-FCA regulated firms are free from historic liabilities.

Wren Sterling currently employs more than 110 advisers across the UK, specialising in corporate and personal independent financial advice.

peter.walker@ft.com