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European Wealth buys US national advice firm

European Wealth buys US national advice firm

European Wealth Group has bought US broker-dealer firm Newbridge Securities Corporation and its affiliated investment advice firm, Newbridge Financial Services Group for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in late 2017 or early 2018, depending on approval by US regulator the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

European Wealth bosses said this is part of a “clear and differentiated” strategic direction for the company.

To reflect the global nature of the business, European Wealth bosses said it will rebrand as Kingswood, subject to shareholder approval.

Marianne Ismail, chief executive of European Wealth, said: “This is our first key step to deliver a profitable and differentiated strategy in the financial services arena.

“We anticipate following this deal with further exciting accretive acquisitions in the future, strengthening our position in major international markets, product offering and AUM.

“Newbridge presents a unique opportunity to invest in an established, well-positioned and nationally represented company.

“It significantly increases our global footprint by gaining immediate access to the largest wealth management market in the world, which we intend to build and scale substantially.”

The acquisition will immediately double the assets under management of the combined platform to around $4bn (£3bn) and provide direct access to all but one US state.

Newbridge is a national broker-dealer and registered investment adviser platform headquartered in Florida.

It has a nationwide network of more than 220 advisers and associates, more than 12,000 clients and around $1.7bn (£1.3bn) in assets under administration.

Newbridge is licensed to operate across every state in the US apart from Maine.

Leonard Sokolow, chief executive of Newbridge Financial, said: “We believe that the proposed combination of our two businesses represents an exciting opportunity to grow a truly global business, focused on delivering innovative products to our clients.

“EWG benefits from supportive shareholders and, with their backing, we can aim to rapidly build our product offering and global footprint, and ultimately, enhance our returns to shareholders.”

Mr Sokolow will remain in the management team of the business as chief executive of Newbridge.

Funding for the acquisition along with on-going working capital needs will be met by a convertible loan.

Participation in the convertible loan is to be offered to all European Wealth shareholders on an equal footing with their current shareholdings.

damian.fantato@ft.com

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