Punter Southall Group  

Workplace pensions business starts IFA acquisition drive

Workplace pensions business starts IFA acquisition drive

Workplace savings and pension business Punter Southall Aspire is to buy Oxford-based independent financial adviser Focus Oxford as the first in a series of planned acquisitions.

The deal is expected to complete by May 2018 and will pave the way for the company to grow its retail advisory arm and its new investment administration platform myAspire.

Founded in 1990, Focus Oxford offers financial planning services on pensions, investments, mortgages and life assurance.

The company has 19 employees including six regulated advisers, a team of paraplanners, life and pension administrators and office administrators.

Punter Southall Aspire said it wants to develop a offer a fully integrated financial advice service for employers and individuals focusing on pensions, pension master trusts, mortgages, Isas and general investment and wealth management solutions.

The firm will offer a restricted advice service to employees, with initial consultations paid for by the employer and more in-depth services available thereafter.

Focus Oxford's advisers will be able to continue giving whole-of-market service to their existing clients, but new clients coming through Aspire will automatically be moved onto myAspire.

Steve Butler, CEO at Punter Southall Aspire, said: “Focus Oxford is a well-run and established business with high quality financial advisers who share our values and vision for making savings and investments less complex and more accessible for everyone.

“This deal will give us a complete proposition for individuals and employers – the ability to deliver financial advice and education in a range of ways, from face to face meetings through to telephone and online consultations.”

He said the buyout was key to the firm’s business strategy.

“We plan to grow our retail advice business significantly in the next few years and hope this will be the first of several acquisitions of IFAs,” he said.

He added the deal would enable the firm to build assets on its investment platform and support its clients with their retirement planning.

Gary Hunt, founding partner at Focus Oxford, said: “We are looking forward to becoming part of Punter Southall Aspire.

“We share the same ambitions – to improve the quality and accessibility of financial advice for individuals and employers and help them achieve better financial outcomes.”

Punter Southall Aspire is a workplace pensions and savings business and part of the Punter Southall group.

The firm looks after 1,250 pension schemes with 200,000 members and £3.5bn of assets under management.

The wider group already has a wealth and discretionary investment management arm, Sigma Investment Management, and an independent advice arm called Punter Southall Financial Management.

Last month (December) parent company Punter Southall sold its actuarial consulting, pensions administration and investment consulting business to rival Xafinity.

The division comprises two businesses providing actuarial advice to the trustees and employer sponsors of about 425 UK occupational pension schemes and administering pensions for 380,000 scheme members belonging to about 200 UK occupational pension schemes between them.

carmen.reichman@ft.com