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Consolidator to seek £2bn in assets next year

Consolidator to seek £2bn in assets next year

A national consolidator is set to enter the advice market next year with £2bn of client assets expected to be secured in the first quarter.

Independent Wealth Planners bought four financial advice companies earlier this year and is in the process of buying another eight across the UK. 

The company will be led by chief executive David Inglesfield, providing compliance, IT, marketing and support services to the advisers it buys - demands which Mr Inglesfield said advisers are currently struggling to meet due to increasing regulatory pressure. 

The consolidator intends for acquired firms to keep their own independent branding but will share the Independent Wealth Planners master brand on a national level. 

Mr Inglesfield said: "We don’t think of ourselves as a traditional consolidator because we are not actually consolidating, we aim to keep those businesses running as independent local businesses. 

"They remain directly authorised and remain run by their own boards and we provide the infrastructure and services.

"They will ultimately end up with a shared infrastructure and common operating systems."

The company is currently in discussions with a further 20 advice firms, in addition to the 12 already secured, with Mr Inglesfield admitting its business model has changed slightly since inception. 

He said: "I originally thought this would be a retirement planning option for principals looking to give their clients to someone who would look after them - that was the original idea. 

"But actually I’d say three quarters of the firms we have acquired have come to us not because they are looking to retire but because they want to grow the business and recognise they can do so far more effectively with the support of a company like ours." 

Independent Wealth Planners, which is majority-owned and controlled by its own management team, identified the advice sector as a “very good” sector in which to invest capital, Mr Inglesfield said. 

He added: "We are here to build Britain’s best independent wealth planning business – but we’re not trying to build it from scratch; there’s no need, because it already exists, in the many excellent local firms around the country. 

"What we do is give them the scale and support to flourish, and to come together as a national firm whilst retaining the local autonomy which makes them special."

Consolidation in the advice market has emerged as a growing theme in recent years, as an increasing number of advisers approach retirement and others are left to shoulder the burden of increasing regulatory requirements.

Tony Spain, chief operating officer at Independent Wealth Planners, said: "Many firm owners tell us that they love their job insofar as it relates to advising clients; but they find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the managerial and administrative burdens of running a regulated firm.