Consolidator eyes pipeline of 20 deals despite virus

Consolidator eyes pipeline of 20 deals despite virus

A new-entrant advice consolidator is eyeing a pipeline of 20 deals as it remains undeterred by the pandemic-fuelled market downturn. 

When it first came to market towards the end of last year Independent Wealth Planners announced ambitions to secure £2bn of client assets in the first quarter of 2020, a target it surpassed with the acquisition of seven advice firms. 

Now the consolidator, which is majority-owned and controlled by its own management team, has 20 further firms in its acquisition pipeline, with seven in advanced stages and two expected to complete imminently. 

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Chief executive David Inglesfield told FTAdviser the business was undeterred by the current market turmoil caused by the coronavirus outbreak, with ambitions to manage £5bn of assets in the coming year. 

Mr Inglesfield said: "We are very much pushing ahead [with acquisitions], we had a good catch up with our investors recently and they were extremely supportive and we are getting a lot of interest, so we are as busy as ever to be honest. 

"Our investors are very bought into the strategy and the strategy is obviously bigger than the current market downturn, although that said the market downturn is obviously not helpful for all sorts of reasons.

"One of the obvious challenges is it makes valuation hard because businesses are suffering a significant fall off in revenue." 

Acquired firms keep their own branding upon joining IWP but share the consolidator's master brand on a national level. 

Deal activity in the advice industry has seen a split response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with some businesses pushing ahead with acquisitions and others pausing their pipeline. 

At the end of last month Ascot Lloyd confirmed new deals were still part of "business as usual" at the consolidator despite the market turmoil, but elsewhere in the market Tavistock Investments and Attivo Group have both put deals on hold.

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