Wealth management group buys £1bn Sipp duo

Wealth management group buys £1bn Sipp duo

Wilton Group has acquired two self-invested personal pension firms with a total of over £1bn in assets under management for an undisclosed sum.

The wealth management and professional services group bought into Sipp and small self-administered scheme administrator Hartley SAS and intermediary Sipp provider The Lifetime Sipp Company.

According to Money Management’s latest Sipp survey, at 31 December 2014, the Lifetime Sipp had set up 1,949 Sipps last year, with plans worth in total £584m with an average Sipp value of £81,939.

The Lifetime Sipp also has Harlequin investments on its books as FTAdviser revealed last year that it had valued these investments at a nominal £1 until the investments are realised or a professional valuation is available.

Both firms are based in Bristol, with all 32 staff moving across to Wilton.

The group’s founder and managing partner Tony Flanagan said that “some time ago” they decided to diversify a traditional professional services offering by creating a more broad-based financial services business.

“These acquisitions are a significant step in that direction, they allow us to offer our clients a wider and more varied choice of financial solutions,” he added.

Group chairman Tony Barber commented that they are going to operate in an area associated with more traditional business.

“We provide solutions within the strict requirements of financial probity for a population who is living longer and for which the UK government is finding it difficult to fund.”

Mike Lawrence, pension specialist at the Wilton Group, explained that they have been advising clients on pensions for many years, but recently it has become more and more difficult to find high quality products at the right price.

“These acquisitions allow us to give one of the most competitive services within the UK, having the right structure to create high quality pension products and a great increase in the number of clients and advisers.”

Denis McHugh, chief executive of Hartley SAS, added that the deal will allow them to fulfil the business’ potential and add value to Wilton’s client offering.

It is expected that in the run-up to next year’s new capital adequacy rules, there will be more consolidation in the Sipp market.

Last year, FTAdviser reported that a number of Sipp firms have been in talks with the regulator over their appetite for acquisitions of rivals ahead of the capital adequacy rules overhaul, following the regulator previously admitting that the new regulations could see one in five providers leave the market.

Mark Smith, a director at Mattioli Woods, said his business is currently having discussions with the regulator about possible solutions for troubled firms. He added that there will be firms struggling to raise the capital needed without going to an external source.

Rowanmoor was recently forced to deny that it was for sale, following market speculation.

Additional reporting by Donia O’Loughlin