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Tilney in talks to buy Smith & Williamson

Tilney in talks to buy Smith & Williamson

Wealth manager Tilney is in talks to merge with rival Smith & Williamson in a move that would result in a firm with a combined £45bn in assets under management, according to reports.

The talks follow a previously unsuccessful bid by Tilney to buy the top ten accountancy firm in 2017, which in this year's annual accounts reported a pre-tax profit of £40.3m and funds under management of £21.4bn. 

As of March 2019 Tilney reported assets under management of £24.4bn, which would see a mammoth total of £45bn in assets under management if the two wealth managers merged. 

According to FTAdviser's sister publication the Financial Timespeople close to the discussions said the talks were ongoing but there was currently no certainty of a deal. 

At the end of last year Smith & Williamson announced its stock market listing would likely be delayed until 2020 after a review of the company's progress.

It had previously stated the plans would not materialise until it had completed its "major investment" in new technology platforms.  

The plan to list the wealth manager came after the company held unsuccessful negotiations with Rathbones about a merger in 2017, which Tilney attempted to join with a rival bid. 

In 2016 Tilney bought rival advice group Towry at a cost of £600m, in a bid to extend its network of financial advisers around the country and for Towry's predominant financial planners to complement the large number of investment advisers at Tilney.

The deal came just two months after Tilney, then known as Tilney Bestinvest, claimed rumours it was lining up a £700m deal for Towry were “pure speculation”.

In 2017 former RAC boss Chris Woodhouse succeeded Peter Hall as chief executive of Tilney, after the latter stepped down to become an adviser to Tilney’s private equity owner Permira. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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