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Is Towry soon to float?

Is Towry soon to float?

Towry may be revisiting its plans to list on the London Stock Exchange, three years after its then chief executive Andrew Fisher mooted plans to float.

Although a spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the market speculation, saying that “Towry would look to the next stage of its development at the appropriate time,” the firm’s possible flotation has been on the cards for at least three years.

Although a spokesman did not confirm or deny the market speculation, saying instead that “Towry would look to the next stage of its development at the appropriate time,” the possible flotation of the firm has been on the cards for at least three years.

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In 2012, Mr Fisher had said the advisory firm – which follows a restricted advice model – was targeting an IPO within 18 months, depending on the state of the markets.

However, after a period of market volatility – and following a deal with private equity backer Palamon Capital Partners which raised £35m to help Towry’s acquisition and expansion plans – Mr Fisher said in December 2012 that any float in the near future was unlikely.

Following this, the firm has seen a period of acquisition activity and office opening across the UK.

Purchases included the assets of Baker Tilly’s private client financial advice and investment management business, RSM Tenon Financial Advice, for an undisclosed sum in April 2014. This saw more than 4,500 private clients and more than £1.5bn of client assets move over to Towry.

In May this year, it bought London-headquartered Ashcourt Rowan for £120m, with plans to roll out a full advice proposition later this year, to deliver segmented advice services.

When asked if a float was the next thing on the cards, the spokesman for Towry said: “Following the acquisition of Ashcourt Rowan earlier this year, our focus remains on looking after our clients and integrating the two businesses into a single, stronger group.

“We have a fully supportive shareholder, and Towry will look to the next stage of its development at the appropriate time when all strategic options will be reviewed.”

In May, John Porteous, head of client proposition at Towry, said that the pension freedoms had created an interesting marketplace for advisory firms, adding: “These changes will increase the opportunity for client propositions to be segmented, to ensure that all clients get the most suitable service for their individual needs.”

Industry View

Fred Hansson, partner for M&A adviser Imas, said: “I think Towry is having to think about some form of an exit for its private equity investors. If the market is good, I think Towry would consider the IPO route as there would be few trade buyers big enough to buy it.

“This could realise value for its investors and give Towry more currency for other future acquisitions. However, it has paid a lot for Ashcourt Rowan, so Towry needs to be careful not to list too soon afterwards. It will need to demonstrate that it has a sustainable growth model and a good track record.”