Old Mutual Wealth 

Quilter sets aside £20m to buy advice firms this year

 Quilter sets aside £20m to buy advice firms this year

Quilter has a budget of £20m to spend on buying and growing advice firms in the coming year, according to chief finance officer Tim Tookey.

Mr Tookey was commenting after the company, previously known as Old Mutual Wealth, released its maiden set of results as a public company in which it revealed profits of £110m for the six months to the end of June.

In the results statement the company said it continues to see the acquisition of advice firms as a source of future growth.

Mr Tookey said cash continues to be invested in the adviser school and the recruitment of advisers, but £20m has been set aside "per annum for the acquisition of advice capacity, the vast majority of which is capital cost".

Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers, now part of Quilter, bought nine advice firms in the past twelve months and Mr Tookey said there remained "plenty of capacity in the market" for expansion.

He added the company’s commitment to pay between 40 and 60 per cent of post-tax profits every year in dividends would not diminish the company's capacity to grow and to complete the upgrade of the company’s platform, which is due to be completed by the end of this year or early next.

Mr Tookey revealed both he and Quilter chief executive Paul Feeney were on the steering committee charged with delivering the technology upgrade on time and on budget.

He said: "Financially we are in a position where I have the money to complete projects and to distribute to shareholders."

Mr Tookey added: "We are currently in the programme of testing the new platform, clearing out bugs, and are well into the integration of thousands of test scripts. And the great thing is we are doing this at exactly the timeframe we said we would be doing this.

"We have people working with us who have worked on previous replatformings, and the learnings we have from that is helping to reduce the amount of unknowns there are in a platform such as this. We have also learned a lot from the previous contract we had, which was mutually ended in 2017."

In April 2017 the company terminated the contract of IFDS to carry out this work, and switched to FNZ in a bid to cut the cost of the replatforming process.

Quilter is planning a phased migration from the old platform to the new one, to make sure advisers and customers are "well supported" through the transition.

The company’s Old Mutual Wealth Platform will rebrand as Quilter Wealth Solutions in due course, as the whole business gradually rebrands.

david.thorpe@ft.com