Wren SterlingAug 14 2020

Wren Sterling gains £68m in Woking IFA acquisition

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Wren Sterling gains £68m in Woking IFA acquisition

National advice firm Wren Sterling has completed the acquisition of a Woking-based IFA in a deal which adds £68m of assets under management to the business. 

Talks to buy the assets of Frobisher Capital Ltd began before the coronavirus crisis hit earlier this year and in an update today (August 14) Wren Sterling confirmed it had completed the purchase from parent company Corimar Holdings Ltd.

The acquisition will see John Westlake, managing director at Frobisher Capital, retire following the handover process and the firm's remaining adviser, Murray Peterman, join Wren Sterling. 

An asset purchase sees the buyer acquire just the assets, leaving the seller with the limited company, whereas a share purchase would have seen the buyer take over a company alongside all its assets but also liabilities.

Ian Halley, chief executive at Wren Sterling, said: "John deserves his retirement after many years of guiding clients through the biggest financial decisions they will make and I know that our service will provide continuity and expertise for them and their families.

"This is our fifth acquisition and it fits with our strategy of growing the business organically whilst augmenting this approach with the purchase of businesses with high quality assets."

Undeterred by the turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic, Wren Sterling said now was "a good a time as any" to buy a business with high quality assets. 

Earlier this year introducer Gunner & Co also predicted the number of advisers looking to sell their businesses could spike in 2021 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Whilst some advice firms stepped back from the acquisition trail when the virus took hold of the economy earlier this year, others continued with their pipeline of deals undeterred by market volatility.

It comes amid predictions the pandemic could lead to a "sharp contrast" in the sale prices of IFA firms next year, depending on how successfully they negotiated working issues during lockdown.

Stephens Scown, a law firm specialising in mergers and acquisitions, recently warned advisers would have to prove they adapted to the unique challenges of the pandemic if they wished to sell their business for the right price next year. 


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