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Schroders cash to allow adviser to go global

Schroders cash to allow adviser to go global

The chief executive of advice group Benchmark Capital said investment received from fund house Schroders will allow it to expand into Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa.

Last week Schroders revealed it paid nearly £86m for its stake in advice firm Benchmark Capital.

Schroders now has a 49 per cent voting stake in the company with Ian Cooke, Benchmark Capital's chief executive, maintaining control.

Mr Cooke said he is already in discussions with companies interested in using Benchmark Capital’s platform.

The West Sussex-based company, which owns a financial planning firm, network and a platform, already provides technology to a number of companies in Asia but will also now be able to offer its platform there because Schroders is regulated in these jurisdictions.

Mr Cooke said he hoped to benefit as these countries went through their equivalents of the Retail Distribution Review.

He said: “If we had done it ourselves it would have been years in the making.

“We already work with firms in Hong Kong and Singapore but at the moment we cannot offer them our platform and investment solutions.

“All of them are interested in our platform because we are a third of the price of what is available.”

Mr Cooke said Benchmark Capital is focusing on these countries because they are highly regulated environments, saying jurisdictions like Dubai are the “wild west” and it wouldn’t be in the company’s interests to expand there.

When Schroders bought the company last year it acquired 49 per cent of the voting stake in Benchmark Capital but it invested an additional 16 per cent without gaining control in order to fund expansion abroad.

Mr Cooke said he has already had a number of meetings with a company in South Africa about offering their services there.

He said: “The main reason is I didn’t want to cede control, which is why I have retained all the voting shares.

“Everyone seems to think Schroders is buying us but it is rubbish. We looked at 14 private equity firms before we did this and they will just build and sell.

“We want nice solid growth with someone like Schroders who won’t push us.”

damian.fantato@ft.com