Succession  

Succession ditches way it buys advice firms

Succession ditches way it buys advice firms

Succession is abandoning its 'acquisition in reverse' model because it no longer suits the advice industry or the type of firms it wants to buy.

For years the consolidator has bought advice firms by having them become members while they gradually integrated with Succession before the acquisition was actually completed.

The company previously said this model worked better because it meant acquisitions were less disruptive and the hard work of integrating a firm was already done by the time it had been formally acquired.

But Mark Stokes, Succession's proposition and marketing director, said the company was now targeting larger firms which tended to have more than £100m in assets, and some with as much as £2bn.

He said: "In 2014 platforms were widely used but not at the core of most wealth management businesses. The same with investment propositions being in-house and back office systems.

"The reverse consolidation model was about businesses that were dealing with 20 to 30 companies and up to 15 or 16 different platform firms.

"What we are finding how is much bigger businesses are attracted by the Succession strength and the Succession model.

"The cost of acquisitions is not cheap and the bigger and better firms represent a much greater opportunity for Succession to continue to grow.

"We are still very keen to talk to businesses in that bracket of around £50m but the majority of our acquisitions will be in excess of £100m."

Succession's initial business plan was to make 50 acquisitions by the end of 2018 and to date there have already been 47 deals resulting in the purchase of 52 separate companies.

Earlier today it was revealed Succession's holding company posted reduced losses of £329,000 compared with £2m for 2016.

Succession Holdings' turnover increased by 59 per cent to £57.7m but costs increased significantly, from £38m to £58m, which the company attributed to the investment it was making in its operational systems.

Succession revealed its regionalisation programme has been completed with the creation of 12 regional hubs and the roll-out of the Succession Connect software.

Mr Stokes said: "The regionalisation allows us to put a corporate structure in place we believe a business of our size merits."

damian.fantato@ft.com