McIntyre's Socium acquires London mortgage broker

McIntyre's Socium acquires London mortgage broker

Socium Group, the investment vehicle backed by private equity firm Penta Capital, has acquired “a significant controlling stake” in London-based mortgage broker Charles Cameron & Associates.

The deal, the details of which were not disclosed, is the latest move in Socium’s five-year plan to build a 300 adviser-strong business, and arrives just months after Socium withdrew its purchase offer of Beaufort Group.

The firm bought CC&A from private equity investor Lonsdale Capital Partners, which acquired the brokerage in January 2018. The former owner claims CC&A’s exit generated returns more than double its initial investment.

Since 2018, the brokerage firm has fine-tuned its digital and mobile services, and grown revenue from £9m to £13m.

Chief executive Simon Nimmo will continue to run the broker under Socium’s ownership, as he did under Lonsdale.

Socium’s chief executive, Mary-Anne McIntyre - former head of Openwork - said CC&A’s acquisition “created quite a buzz” throughout the group due to “the significant growth opportunities it brings”.

Founded back in 2004, CC&A is home to roughly 90 mortgage and protection advisers. Previously, Socium had accumulated 72 advisers across seven acquisitions, making CC&A its largest purchase to date.

The deal puts Socium’s adviser total at 162.

On average, CC&A claims to complete some 700 mortgages every month. Between April 2020 and 2021, it said these mortgages totalled £3.1bn.

Its direct-to-consumer mortgage business is paired with an employer-facing arm which provides mortgage advice through the HR departments of 200 companies. 

McIntyre added that CC&A gives Socium “a complete advice proposition” for its clients. In total, Socium intends to acquire 15 to 20 “hub businesses” run by management teams to reach its 300 adviser target.

Last year, Penta Capital provided Socium with an acquisitions war chest of £160m to acquire IFA businesses across the UK. 

It has since bought True Bearing in Chorley, Premier Financial Management in Marlow, Chancery Financial Planning in London, Shipman Financial Planning in Taunton, Emery (IFA) in Essex, Wealth Solutions in Birmingham, and Johnston Campbell in Belfast.

All together, the group boasts assets under influence of £4.5bn.

Flurry of deals

For Lonsdale, CC&A marks the private equity firm’s third exit in just seven months, leaving six companies in its current portfolio.

CC&A is one of eight firms Lonsdale has invested in since April 2016, when it closed its first institutional fund of £110m.

It is also the third UK mortgage broker to be acquired by another firm in just the last month.

In July, the operator of Uswitch and - RVU - bought Manchester-based digital broker Mojo Mortgages for an undisclosed sum. 

Then just days later, stateside digital mortgage broker Better bought UK mortgage broker Trussle. Better cited Trussle's “experienced management team, local knowledge and foundational mortgage technology” as reasons for the deal.

Similarly, US-backed entity RVU bought Mojo Mortgages in large part for its technology, with the vision to scale it post-deal.