Key Retirement advice deal on ice

Key Retirement advice deal on ice

Key Retirement has put its plans to buy an advice business on ice as it awaits the outcome of the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).

The firm’s business development director Will Hale said attempts to expand into the advice market had been put on hold shortly before Christmas, because it proved “difficult to meet the financial objectives” of that business.

In August, Key Retirement announced it had set aside £10m to expand across London and the South East through an “accelerated acquisition strategy”, but Mr Hale said those plans were being scaled back.

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He said: “There seems to be a large amount of dislocation in the market. Customers are confused about what to do – they were coming to us for help or information but very few were at a stage where they were prepared to commit to a financial product.

“We have reverted to making that part of the business an annuity broking operation, but depending on the results of FAMR we would like to re-enter that space when the time is right.

“The retirement planning and advice market is one we will keep a close eye on, but we will only look to invest once the landscape has been clarified.”

The Treasury and the FCA launched FAMR last year to look into ways to bring financial advice back to the mass market.

As part of the review, for the first time in a decade, the regulator confirmed it would reconsider the unlimited liabilities advisers now face.

The review has acknowledged there are relatively few awards by Fos against financial advisers in response to complaints about incidents that happened more than 15 years ago.

Last year, Key Retirement expanded its retirement lending division with the acquisition of V Loans, a specialist second-charge broker.

Over the course of 2014 the provider generated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £7m and now employs 310 people.