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Novia owner among bidders circling Parmenion

Novia owner among bidders circling Parmenion
 Credit: Simon Dawson

AnaCap Financial is in the running to buy Parmenion from Standard Life Aberdeen — a deal that would mark the private equity firm’s fourth acquisition in the UK wealth management platform space in the past year.

FTAdviser understands that AnaCap is among a number of firms to have expressed an interest in the Bristol-based company, with asset managers also in the mix.

Parmenion's discretionary fund management offering is seen as particularly attractive to fund groups keen to bolster their distribution arms. 

However, the price of the business may prove a barrier, as FTAdviser reported in December. 

Parmenion was reportedly put on the market for around £150m, a relatively high price by recent standards. Cofunds had more than ten times Parmenion's assets - albeit with no in-house DFM business - at the time of its own sale to Aegon for £140m in 2016.

A sale to AnaCap would rubber stamp the private equity firm's forceful move into the platform space over the past 12 months.

In February 2020, AnaCap announced it was to acquire Wealthtime — a deal which was given the green light by the City watchdog eight months later — and it scooped up Amber Financial Investments in July.

Then in late December the business bought the Novia platform, a move which brought £8.2bn of assets, 67,000 clients and more than 1,000 advice firms to its already growing platform book.

Across the three platforms, AnaCap now boasts nearly £11bn assets under management. It has previously said it would continue to deploy its “expertise in tech-enabled businesses” to bolster the firms.

SLA and AnaCap declined to comment.

In November last year SLA confirmed it was exploring the sale of Parmenion, one of the first major strategic decisions made by new chief executive Stephen Bird.

It marked a move away from the legacy left by former co-CEO, Martin Gilbert, who ‘ring-fenced’ the platform from other changes taking place in the business.

Parmenion offers model portfolios for advisers as a discretionary service, but its £6.5bn assets under management are overshadowed by Wrap and Elevate, SLA’s larger adviser platforms.

Aberdeen Asset Management acquired Parmenion in 2016, a year before Aberdeen merged with Standard Life.

At the time, Gilbert said the acquisition would ensure Aberdeen was at the “forefront of the digital revolution” in the asset management space.

When the sale was announced, Bird said it would help simplify its offering to financial advisers by reconfiguring the business around its “key growth vectors”.

Advisers have since expressed concern over the potential sale of Parmenion, stating that the primary outcome they hoped for from any deal was for the platform to stay the same.

It is not just AnaCap leading the charge in the platforms mergers and acquisitions space, however.

In November 2019 Embark’s expansion continued with the company’s acquisition of the Zurich platform, just months after it bought the advised business of Alliance Trust Savings from Interactive Investor.

Interactive Investor later went on to buy D2C rival The Share Centre, while M&G bought the Ascentric platform from Royal London.