SIPPOct 26 2018

Sipp book of troubled firm sold to rival

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Sipp book of troubled firm sold to rival

Greyfriars Asset Management's (GAM) self-invested personal pension (Sipp) business has been sold to Hartley Pensions, as the firm entered insolvency.

Adam Stephens and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson were appointed as joint administrators of GAM on Tuesday (23 October), after the firm made an application for insolvency.

Two days later, the administrators concluded the sale of GAM's Sipp and small self-administered scheme (Sass) businesses to Hartley Pensions for an undisclosed sum.

Hartley is part of the Wilton Group, and manages more than £1bn of client assets. Earlier this year, the provider acquired 40 per cent of the Lifetime Sipp book, before the firm entered administration.

The deal will add almost £500m in assets to Hartley, as firm continues to diversify and expand its pension offering.

Tony Flanagan, founder and managing partner of Wilton, said: "We have continued with our plans to grow a broad-based financial services business so that we can provide our clients with a much wider range of attractive financial solutions to choose from."

This deal follows the recent transfer of the advisory arm of GAM business to Insight Financial Associates, which completed on 16 October, having been effected by the firm’s partners.

Mr Stephens, lead administrator, said: "We are focussed on working with the new owners of the GAM business, Hartley and Insight, to seek to ensure that clients’ interests and investments are protected.

"We have already been working with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the partners of GAM to ensure the smooth transition of the business divisions."

The joint administrators said the staff currently working in the Sipp and Ssas business will transfer across to Hartley, "hopefully ensuring that clients will experience minimum disruption in the transfer process".

The joint administrators and Hartley do not anticipate any interruption to the services previously provided by GAM.

Martin Tilley, director of technical services at Dentons Pension Management, considered the move "brave" because of the potential workload involved.

He said: "It is good news for the members because in the worst case scenario, when a business goes into administration like this, is an organised wind up where you need to arrange for all those clients to be physically transferred to other Sipp providers, which is administratively even more of a complex problem.

"So having a provider that is going to step in and continue to run that book is in the interest of the members of the Sipp and their advisers."

GAM was a wealth management business which, apart from the divisions sold to Insight and Hartley, also provided discretionary fund management services. This division was wound down in 2017 and is no longer active.