Wren Sterling  

Wren Sterling changes PE hands in management buyout

Wren Sterling changes PE hands in management buyout

Wren Sterling has changed hands from one private equity owner to another as part of a management buyout of the firm.

In an announcement today (July 21), the firm said US private equity firm Lightyear Capital will have a majority stake and the management team will retain a minority stake, to complete a management buyout from Palatine Private Equity and shareholders.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it will see all of Wren Sterling’s management team and staff remain in place. 

Lightyear is a New York-based private equity firm with a dedicated focus on asset and wealth management. 

Wren said it will use the support from Lightyear to grow the business through organic growth and targeted acquisitions. 

Ian Darby, Wren Sterling’s executive chairman, said: “We have secured a fantastic deal for Wren Sterling’s clients, shareholders and staff. It will provide a return for our investors, enable us to grow our business and continue to invest in our client service.

“Lightyear will bring years of expertise in growing financial advice businesses, plus the capital we require to help us grow Wren Sterling, so they’re an ideal partner for us.”

He added: “Palatine has been a hugely supportive owner over the last six years. Through the management team’s hard work and Palatine’s guidance, we’ve created a dynamic business that is helping many people across the UK to make the right financial decisions.

“Wren Sterling’s management team led by chief executive officer Ian Halley, advisers and staff deserve huge credit for their commitment and professionalism over those years and I’m looking forward to the next stage of our growth.”

Wren Sterling was created following a management buyout of Towergate Financial led by Ian Darby and supported by Palatine Private Equity in March 2015. 

Over the past six years, Wren Sterling has doubled its assets to £4.6bn under management and increased its profitability.

In February the firm completed its first acquisition of the year with White Wells Investments, which added £50m of assets under management to the national advice firm. 

Last month, the firm made a further three acquisitions including Sentinel Private Clients, based in Warwickshire, Cardiff-based Bookkeeping Administration Services and Rothesay Intelligent Financial Services, based in Bedfordshire.

In August last year Wren Sterling also bought the assets of Woking-based Frobisher Capital in a deal which saw it gain £68m in assets under management. 

Mark F. Vassallo, managing partner of Lightyear, said: “We are excited to partner with Ian Darby and the talented management team at Wren Sterling to support their continued success through organic growth and future acquisition opportunities.

“Lightyear’s investment in Wren Sterling will build on our successful track record in wealth management and reflects our longstanding thematic focus on the growth of independent financial advice.” 

sonia.rach@ft.com

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