Sense Network  

Network targets 500 advisers after buying Sense for £9m

Network targets 500 advisers after buying Sense for £9m
Credit: Luke MacGregor

A new network is to acquire Sense for more than £9m as it targets a “selective” 500 advisers over the next three to four years.

Adviser Services Holdings announced today (September 7) it had agreed to buy the Sense Network for £9.35m as part of the firm’s growth plans to build a 500-strong adviser network.

It is the firm’s second acquisition since it launched in May 2019, buying Lyncombe Consultants — an IFA network with 30 advisers — earlier this year.

Michael Couzens, chief executive of ASHL, told FTAdviser the business plan was “more about quality than quantity” as it looked to grow its numbers modestly over the next few years.

He said: “The three founders have been involved in much larger networks for quite a few years...and there’s a gap in the market for an advisory support business that isn’t trying to be the size of SJP and Quilter.

“We’re targeting more mature adviser firms that need more hands on support. We’re going to focus on not being too big, being hands on with our firms to deliver what those firms want, so eventually evolving to something more bespoke.”

The combination of the Lyncombe and Sense acquisitions has resulted in ASHL having 300 advisers.

Mr Couzens added: “We’re not looking for exponential growth or to do many acquisitions, but we want to build a high quality, comprehensive adviser support service.

“We’ve focused on Sense because we think it is the highest quality business so a good base on which to build.”

As the firm was not focused on massive growth, Mr Couzens said it could “afford to be selective” to make sure it partnered with “compatible firms”.

Mr Couzens told FTAdviser the group was primarily interested in firms which focused on investments, rather than mortgages or protection, and advisers with experience in the field.

He said: “We’re looking for firms who already have a track record and experience in this market...and those with a long-term plan.

“We’re looking for quality — not for firms who want to get rich quick or max their income in the short-term.”

He added that when networks got too big, they either had to “shove all firms into the same shape” or be “really big” to deal with them all.

The network will offer its adviser firms compliance services, professional indemnity insurance, help with fund selection and other standard network processes.

The Sense service will continue unchanged post-acquisition and there will be no job losses, but Phil Young will step down as chairman and Stephen Young will no longer be a non-executive director.