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Kingswood buys financial planner for £14m

Kingswood buys financial planner for £14m

Wealth management group Kingswood Holdings has bought a Sheffield-based financial planning business in a deal worth up to £14m as the company continues to pursue its pipeline of acquisitions. 

The AIM-listed firm is expected to complete its acquisition of WFI Financial later this month in a move that will see its assets under management grow to £2.5bn with a client base of 5,500. 

WFI Financial has assets under management in excess of £550m and generated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (Ebitda) of £1.8m in the most recent financial year, with Kingswood confirming it expects the acquisition to begin making money for the business immediately. 

Contracts have been exchanged between the two parties for a maximum cash payment of £14m which will be staggered over a 30-month period.

The first £3.5m will be payable when the acquisition is closed in September and the remaining balance on a deferred basis subject to WFI Financial meeting goals regarding asset migration, recurring revenue and Ebitda. The final deferred payment is due in February 2022.

Gary Wilder, group chief executive at Kingswood, said: "The acquisition of WFI doubles the size of our wealth planning business and provides Kingswood with an opportunity to own a very profitable regional financial planning business with built-in expertise and capacity to expand."

Mr Wilder said both of WFI Financial’s principals, Charlie Gillespie and Mark Rendall, will remain with the group post integration and will take up expanded roles within Kingswood. 

He added: "They, along with their excellent team, will continue to focus on their core strengths of client advice and business development, with Kingswood centrally managing regulatory and compliance, finance, HR and IT responsibilities. 

“There is also a major opportunity to migrate existing and new clients across to Kingwood's DFM platform, especially onto our recently re-launched managed portfolio service offering, underpinning the value of a fully integrated wealth management business."

Earlier this year Kingswood announced it had an acquisition pipeline in excess of £100m and in June confirmed it was in talks to secure "substantial" funding from an equity investor to support its pipeline of acquisitions. 

The company said the investor would become a shareholder in the business as part of the deal and in a statement today (September 4) confirmed it was in the "final stages" of due diligence as part of the process. 

Kingswood said: "This injection of capital is consistent with the group's stated strategy of pursuing accretive acquisitions across the UK and internationally, a number of which are in advanced stages of negotiation. Further announcements will be made as and when it is appropriate to do so."

The company confirmed the closing of the WFI Financial deal is not dependent upon securing the proposed growth funding. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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