Consolidator eyes adviser deals despite lockdown

Consolidator eyes adviser deals despite lockdown

National IFA Ascot Lloyd has confirmed it is still on the acquisition trail despite the market turmoil and global lockdown caused by coronavirus, with some advisers even keen to accelerate the selling process.  

The company's newly-appointed acquisitions director Gordon Kerr told FTAdviser new deals were still part of "business as usual" at the consolidator. 

Ascot Lloyd is set to complete two smaller deals in the coming months and Mr Kerr said the adviser would "evaluate opportunities" as they arose over the coming months. 

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He told FTAdviser: "Obviously the situation evolves day-to-day and we continue to evaluate as we go through the process but acquisitions are very much a part of our ongoing strategy.

"Acquisitions are part of our business as usual, we've got funding and have the advantage of recurring revenue at this time so it is still very much part of the plan and strategy going forward." 

This morning (March 31) Ascot Lloyd announced it had acquired Norfolk-based IFA Ring Associates, in a deal which added £382m in funds under management to the consolidator. 

The deal adds to Ascot Lloyd's own £8bn funds under influence and 130 advisers, and follows a string of acquisitions by the consolidator in recent months. 

Mr Kerr said the company had so far seen a mixed reaction from potential vendors in the market in light of the coronavirus lockdown and market turmoil, but some advisers were keen to accelerate the selling process. 

He added: "It would be foolish for us to say nothing has changed, a lot has changed and a lot is going on, but we are still going to be acquiring and having conversations with vendors regardless of what state they are in.

"We are seeing some now that want to hunker down and protect their own businesses, but equally for some this is the last straw and they want to just sell now and we are there to have those conversations in each case." 

In October last year Ascot Lloyd confirmed it had agreed terms on eight deals which would add 20 advisers, £15m of revenue and £1.2bn of funds under management to the business before the start of 2020.

The acquisition strategy was fuelled by increasing consolidation among smaller businesses in the market, which face the ever-increasing challenge of regulatory costs. 

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