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West Midlands advisers join forces

West Midlands advisers join forces
 From left, George Roberts, founder of Sterling Rock, and Piers Mepsted, managing director of Financial Advice Centre.

Two West Midlands advice firms have joined forces in order to provide a “full independent advice service” to their clients.

Financial Advice Centre Ltd, an IFA and wealth management firm, is set to officially merge with mortgage broker Sterling Rock after four years of an informal partnership.

The two firms currently recommend each other’s services to their clients but will now join under the Financial Advice Centre name and work under one roof.

Sterling Rock’s founder, George Roberts, has moved with his three advisers to the Financial Advice Centre offices in Central Worcester, headed up by managing director Piers Mepsted.

Mr Mepsted said: “We are currently celebrating our 20th anniversary year, so this is an exciting development for us and an exciting time to be announcing it. 

“Our wide variety of clients ranges from younger clients looking to protect their family’s financial future with life assurance and income protection to inheritance tax and legacy planning.”

He added being able to offer mortgage advice from an independent firm meant their clients could now receive an efficient, cost effective, full service offering under one roof.

Mr Mepsted said his clients had always been impressed by Sterling Rock and their “sensitive and intelligent handling” of a “stressful and difficult process”.

Mr Roberts said his clients had benefited considerably from Financial Advice Centre’s help in planning for their future and retirement, adding that because both businesses worked in a similar way the merger felt like a “natural and straightforward” progression.

This is the latest in a string of mergers between IFA and mortgage brokers, all looking to be able to provide a comprehensive advice offering to their clients.

Earlier this year (February 1) Personal Touch Financial Services merged with mortgage and protection network Primis, while The Money Group — a network of directly authorised mortgage advice businesses — revealed it was looking to move into the pensions and investments space through partnerships with IFAs in August.

Martin Stewart, director of The Money Group, said he expected to see significantly more mergers in the years ahead.

He said: “There is an obvious correlation between the work of the two professionals and it makes absolute common sense to share the synergy that both sides can offer.

“There is also the commercial sense behind this. The regulatory environment is in a continual state of flux and there are vulnerabilities that being too small can bring in a world of ever increasing costs.”

Ricky Chan, director at IFS Wealth & Pensions, said: “It’s great to see more businesses offering a more comprehensive service to clients. 

“I think we will see many acquisitions and mergers generally as older directors and owners look for an exit strategy as they retire, not specifically limited to IFAs and mortgage advisory businesses.”

Mr Chan added businesses’ formal partnerships could lead to helpful economies of scale, cost-savings for clients and a smoother ‘client journey’.