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Lighthouse and Quilter advisers look to exit

Lighthouse and Quilter advisers look to exit

Some advisers from Lighthouse and Quilter are looking to jump ship ahead of the planned merger between the two companies, according to an adviser partnership.

Martin Brown, managing partner at adviser partnership Continuum, told FTAdviser his company had been approached by "half a dozen" advisers from the two companies in the past six weeks, compared with no approaches in the four years before.

He thought Lighthouse advisers were concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the impending sale of their business, with chief executive Malcolm Streatfield having already announced his departure.

But for Quilter the feedback had been it has become a pressurised environment for advisers and was too focused on sales, he added.

Mr Brown said: "We have received several enquiries over recent weeks from [advisers of] those companies that are going through that phase.

"Maybe there is a degree of concern about the deal.

"On Quilter the feedback that we are getting is the environment has moved into a sales pressured environment where this has been driven quite significantly. They [feel they] are under pressure to sell."

Quilter is in the process of buying national advice company and network Lighthouse after the latter's shareholders voted in favour of the bid in May.

The £46.2m deal will see the formation of an advice giant as big as rival St James's Place as Lighthouse's 400 advisers join Quilter's network Intrinsic, bringing total adviser numbers in the business to 3,900.

Mr Streatfield said: "I find that a strange and unsubstantiated quote, as feedback from our advisers has been of overwhelmingly in support for the deal as they see the natural cultural and structural fit of the two businesses."

Andy Thompson, the chief executive of Intrinsic, said the company was committed to delivering "trusted professional financial planning" and the majority of the advisers acquired in the past decided to stay with the company.

He said: "As a business we have grown both organically and through acquisitions. The vast majority of our advisers and customers who came through our previous acquisitions remain with us today.

"This is in part thanks to our ‘best of both’ approach to acquisitions, which means, among other things, the culture is an amalgamation of those that we’ve acquired."

Continuum itself cut ties with Intrinsic last year when it left the Caerus network to become directly authorised. Caerus was taken over by Intrinsic in 2017, and Continuum was the largest advice firm in the business with a turnover at the time of £6m.

As part of the deal Caerus became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the network, with its advisers becoming restricted and using the Intrinsic advice process over a phased transition on a firm by firm basis.

Mr Brown, whose business operates an independent advice model, said he had no interest in becoming restricted.

He said at the time in order to further develop its client and adviser proposition, it required the greater flexibility and control that direct authorisation offers.