1: Quilter Financial Planning
It has been a busy 12 months for Quilter’s advice business, which jumped five places to reach the top spot this year.
It is a year that Darren Sharkey, managing director of Quilter’s national advice business, says heralded the company’s entry into a new phase of growth.
“However, one thing hasn’t changed – our commitment to providing quality face-to-face advice,” he adds.
The national advice business has rebranded from Intrinsic, with its new name Quilter Financial Planning.
It has also made two large acquisitions: national advice company and network Lighthouse in June, in a deal worth £46.2m, and financial planning company Charles Derby in February. The former came after the Top 100 data was compiled, however.
Mr Sharkey said: “With Charles Derby we have expanded our successful national advice business and with Lighthouse we have bolstered our advice numbers across both our network and national.
“We remain positive and ambitious about the growth opportunities in the market for a business like ours, which prides itself on providing quality face-to-face financial advice.”
Quilter is now second only to St James’s Place in its number of CF30s, with 2,549.
The company plans to continue investing in growing its adviser numbers, improving the technology proposition and making it “noticeably easier” for advisers to focus on working with their clients.
The ongoing investment in the financial adviser school is an example of this.
Mr Sharkey adds: “We will also continue the integration activity with Lighthouse and Charles Derby into Quilter Financial Planning, aligning around the best elementsof each.”
Advisers are facing a lot of challenges, from changing regulation and technological disruption, to fee pressure.
“This will become even more challenging as we face increasingly volatile markets,” Mr Sharkey says.
2: Close Brothers
Close Brothers Asset Management has jumped a massive 35 positions to be second in this year’s ranking.
Its gross sales have grown by 30.7 per cent to £340m, while net sales are also up 36.4 per cent to £150m.
Close Brothers says its advice service has grown by 9 per cent in net inflows in the past year as it continues to invest in its service.
Over the past year it has enhanced its service to support clients’ legacy planning objectives – through the launch of its Wealth Legacy Service.
It has also focussed heavily on offering clients access to financial education, both online and at events across the UK.
Andy Cumming, head of advice at Close Brothers, says: “Our business continues to grow by providing an excellent service to our clients, and the positive recommendations this produces.
“We have also reduced our initial advice fees in the last year, and have further fee changes planned for 2020.”
Mr Cumming adds: “Investing in our digital capability also means we can offer a better service through making our processes more efficient and saving our clients time, especially when a client joins us.