Your IndustryNov 11 2015

Wren Sterling and John Charcol may separate

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Wren Sterling and John Charcol may separate

The separation of Wren Sterling and John Charcol will be complete by the end of 2015, the executive chairman of the two companies has said.

Ian Darby said their sale – either jointly or separately – would likely be in the pipeline because of the nature of their ownership by private equity firm Palatine Private Equity, but said he did not know when this would be.

Mr Darby said: “I do not know the timeframe because my agenda right now is to get these businesses through the rebuild. But I cannot see it happening in the foreseeable future.

“We have been running these businesses for growth as well as going through the transformation phase.

“Our ambitions for both businesses is to continue to grow them through distribution operations, investing in our technology and recruiting more advisers.”

In March, Towergate Financial, which owns John Charcol, was bought by Palatine Private Equity for £8.6m. A month later the company rebranded as Wren Sterling.

Mr Darby said both companies were still running on Towergate servers and this would be one of the last changes before the separation is complete.

Analyst view

Fred Hansson, a partner at market research firm Imas, said: “The advice sector offers stable recurring income streams and consolidation potential for years to come, so that’s quite a good combination for a private equity firm, and we think it is an environment private equity will play a role in for a while.

“Private equity firms would want to be involved for three to five years on average, so it is still early for Palatine to be selling up, but John Charcol is a strong brand and separating the two companies gives them flexibility.”