Saltus: Why finding the 'right fit' is important when buying IFAs

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Saltus: Why finding the 'right fit' is important when buying IFAs
Jon Macintosh, partner at Saltus Group
BySonia Rach

Saltus Group partner Jon Macintosh has said although the firm is not in a “tearing hurry” to buy firms, it is “capital hungry”.

Last year the wealth manager managed to secure "significant" investment from private equity firm Preservation Capital Partners.

Following completion of the funding, PCP holds a majority stake, alongside management and the existing shareholder base of high net worth individuals.  

At the time, Saltus said the investment would “accelerate its current growth trajectory” through access to capital, further investment in technology to improve both client and adviser outcomes and by broadening the reach of the Saltus Partnerships Programme.

Speaking to FTAdviser, Macintosh said: “We've been on this journey of spending a lot of money on tech and digital marketing and then a certain amount of money on IFAs, so we’re capital hungry.

“We also had a load of angel investors who'd been providing us with equity for the last 12 years and we’d promised some of our shareholders - who weren't working within the business but they had been around for a long time - an exit.”

Macintosh said PCP were keen to carry on funding Saltus’ investments in tech which allowed those investors to have the opportunity to exit.

“There was a bit of a clear out and about 30 or 40 percent got off the bus and the rest stayed on.”


Last year, Saltus Group bought Higgins Fairbairn Advisory, an independent chartered financial planner based in London.

In April, it purchased Hertfordshire-based wealth management firm NSL Wealth as part of its long-term growth strategy and in February, Saltus appointed Alex Spreckley as managing director of financial planning, as it looked to grow its advisory arm.

However, Macintosh said despite these purchases, the firm does not have a target of how many acquisitions it wishes to make every year.

“We're not in a tearing hurry. For us, it's about finding the right fit and the kind of philosophy that an IFA is selling to us for the right reasons.

“We're very big believers in vertical integration. That means if you're a client and you walk into a Saltus office a year after the acquisition, you can't tell whether it was this acquisition or another acquisition because the service you get is identical.”

Those firms that are acquired by the group are retrained and the offering to the client is exactly the same across all the offices.

“We're trying to build a brand and a well-functioning offering that will be around for decades to come and we've invested a lot of money in our platform and in our institutional investment offering.”

The process

Macintosh explained that historically, it has bought retiring IFAs because it would rather buy a business where there's one person retiring and a junior partner who wants to stay with the firm.

“We can provide better tech, so the younger person can have twice as many clients or we can unitise on the smaller clients and make the business more profitable because there's one adviser rather than two.

“The older person gets what they want, which is money and retirement and the younger person gets a more profitable, larger book.”