IFG Group 

Adviser faces client struggle after sale attempt

Adviser faces client struggle after sale attempt

The parent company of Saunderson House has said the firm has struggled to win big clients during the first half of 2018 and was now working to capture the younger market.

IFG Group gave a presentation addressing investors and analysts following the release of its 2018 half year results this morning (30 August), saying it would be looking at generational wealth as a source of revenue.

Tony Overy, chief executive of Saunderson House, said the company had struggled to bring in bigger advisory clients and was now looking at "home growing" its advisers in an attempt to connect with the younger generation.

During the presentation, Mr Overy said: "We’ve struggled to get big advisory clients and growth in our traditional business has slowed and there has been a slowing down of money coming through.

"We have focused on home growing our advisers and we have a number coming through that can naturally engage with younger clients.

"They have similar interests and can grow their careers together. The younger advisers are more likely to be successful in bringing younger clients into the business rather than, for example, a senior partner in a magic circle law firm, though with experience, they are able to do this."

IFG Group reported during the first half of 2018, Saunderson House had won 134 new clients, down from 144 in the first half of last year.

In April, IFG Group decided to take Saunderson House off the market for sale because the offers 'did not align with its strategy and would present execution risks' which would lower the shareholder value.

Following this decision, IFG Group said it would instead work on developing the business.

Saunderson House has also been undergoing a review for historical pension transfers, which is now "substantially complete". The remediation process is due to start in the second half of this year, with £1.6m already put aside for this issue, IFG said this morning.

The firm added that Saunderson House and James Hay were in the midst of a review of their longer-term strategies, with an update on this expected later in 2018.

Saunderson House said it will be aiming to capture lower assets which will "grow in time" and recognised this would impact its short term revenue.

But Mr Overy made clear this did not mean the company had changed its strategy.

"We have not changed our strategy. We continue to actively target and take on clients who are further in their careers and have the need for a more bespoke service," he said.

"We recognise that it is also very important to take on people earlier in their careers as clients. We accept that these will initially have lower levels of assets and need for advice, which impacts on short term revenues.

"As we have such a high client retention rate, we know that over time, as asset values increase, as does the need for high quality strategic advice, that these clients add significant long term value to the business."