SchrodersDec 12 2022

Benchmark buys 51% stake in Harrogate-based firm

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Benchmark buys 51% stake in Harrogate-based firm
(Pexels/Alaur Rahman)
BySonia Rach

Benchmark Capital, the wealth management business owned by Schroders, has bought a 51 per cent shareholding in Harrogate based Oculus Wealth Management, subject to regulatory approval.

Oculus is a boutique advice network operating an appointed representative model with 26 firms and 35 advisers.

It has partnered with Benchmark since 2015, using its integrated platform, practice management and client portal technology solutions to grow their advice business.

The deal will see an additional £2bn assets added to the Benchmark group. 

Duncan Read, managing director at Oculus, said: “Oculus has a proven, successful business model supporting high-quality, advisers predominantly from the private banking space. 

“Building on our existing partnership with Benchmark will allow us to provide even more support for our existing advisers, but also further accelerate the growth of our business over the next few years.”

Read said the move will benefit its advisers and give further choice and options to them with regard to their own businesses and careers. 

“Benchmark offer access to financial opportunities for Oculus firms including both expansion and a succession option, thereby allowing us to assist our advisers with their complete career journeys,” he added. 

The Oculus model focuses on establishing new advice firms for advisers looking for an environment in which to deliver a “high-quality advice proposition”.

The firm will continue to operate independently but with further support from Benchmark for the existing management team. 

Benchmark said this is the next in a series of acquisitions it has made over the past five years.

Ed Dymott, managing director wealth at Benchmark, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Oculus to Benchmark and provide the support to allow further growth and progression for an already highly successful business. 

“Oculus has been incredibly successful in helping advisers who have previously worked at larger wealth managers and private banks set up their own practices, and we see this as a key growth area in the market.”

Dymott added: “Their business-in-a-box model, bringing together Benchmark’s and Oculus services, is a compelling proposition, and we have seen great demand for this offering. We have known the team for several years and are excited by the potential for the future with our new partnership.”

Last month, Benchmark Capital completed the purchase of advice firm Advison and purchased a 49 per cent stake in financial planning firm Chartered Independent.

It said the acquisition of Milton Keynes-based Advison will see its owners transition into Benchmark’s business, where they will continue to service their existing clients.

In January, Benchmark bought advice firm Redbourne Wealth Management adding £310mn to its client assets. 

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