Kingswood’s UK boss promoted to group CEO

Kingswood’s UK boss promoted to group CEO
David Lawrence, chief executive officer of Kingswood Holdings

Kingswood’s UK boss has been appointed as the wealth management group’s chief executive as the firm hints at another year full of acquisitions and a renewed focus on fintech.

David Lawrence joined Kingswood back in December 2020. The 53-year-old was previously chief commercial officer of Schroders Personal Wealth, but spent the majority of his career at Lloyds Banking Group heading up the bank’s wealth division.

Lawrence inherits the group CEO role from Gary Wilder, who is stepping down after three years to take a non-executive role overseeing Kingswood US which is led by Mike Nessim.

Wilder said in an announcement today (April 25) that Lawrence has made “huge progress” in the UK so far.

“The business is now demonstrating leading credentials in buy and build, delivering strong inorganic and organic growth and leveraging the benefits of being a vertically integrated wealth manager,” said the outgoing CEO.

“With equal investment in its people, client experience and technology, the business is now exceptionally well placed for its next phase.”

Kingswood holds around £9.1bn in assets under advice and management, services around 19,300, and operates offices abroad in Johannesburg, Atlanta, New York and San Diego, as well as across the UK.

In February, the wealth manager made a series of acquisitions in the UK, including Eastleigh-based adviser firm Aim Independent for £3.6mn, Essex-based adviser Joseph R Lamb for £15.3mn, and Rotherham-based adviser Allotts Financial Services for £2.5mn.

All the deals are funded by the issue of £3mn in convertible preference shares, the eleventh tranche of shares issued as part of an £80mn commitment made to Kingswood by investment management firm Pollen Street back in September 2019

Kingswood's partnership with Pollen Street has to date provided growth equity of around £77.4mn to support existing and future acquisitions.

David Hudd, Kingswood’s chairperson, said Lawrence’s leadership of Kingswood UK has been “transformative”, and that the firm is confident he will take the business to “another level” over the coming years to fully realise its potential.

Lawrence is some 15 months into his employment at the investment manager. During the last twelve months, the firm has made eight acquisitions and integrations.

He confirmed Kingswood has “a strong pipeline for a similar number during 2022”. 

“With an equally strong focus in our people, our client experience, technology and proposition, I expect the next fifteen months to be an incredibly exciting period for Kingswood,” said Lawrence.

Focus on fintech

The investment manager has also announced the appointment of Richard Avery-Wright to the boards of Kingswood’s UK subsidiaries, KW Wealth Planning Limited and KW Investment Management Limited.

Avery-Wright previously founded RCP Holdings Limited which has gone on to co-found or invest in a number of fintech startups, including Wealthify - the Aviva-owned online investment service which started working with IFAs back in September 2020.

Kingswood’s chairperson also drew attention to RCP’s sale of 50 per cent of Raw Capital Partners to a group of UK-based insurance investors which culminated in the demerger of the venture capital arm into a new regulated business, 1818 Venture Capital, a specialist investor largely focused on UK fintech and digitally-enabled businesses.