Walker Crips is looking for at least 15 new advisers by the end of 2021 as it focuses on “controlled, aggressive growth” amid a group restructure.
Sean Lam, chief executive, told FTAdviser the group wanted to drive further growth through its wealth division by hiring new advisers and acquiring smaller advice firms.
He said: “We are continuing to grow. It is what we call ‘controlled, aggressive growth’. We believe this is a time for us to look at opportunities around and move towards them.
“We have a pretty big goal to increase the number of advisers from 5 to 20 by the end of next year. We are already in the process of hiring three, but want another 12 more.”
Mr Lam said the growth would be through both recruitment and acquisitions, and that the firm had a pot of cash set aside to buy firms.
However, Mr Lam said the growth was to be “controlled” in that the group would not buy over the odds, and the objective was to ensure it was in clients’ best interests.
He added: “With more clients, more support is needed, so we want to make sure the entire infrastructure is in place when we do this. We’re not going to throw money at stuff willy nilly.
“It is very well acknowledged that there is an advice gap. We believe we are doing a good job and have a good set up.
“We have adjusted our wealth business over the last two years by streamlining our operations and improving our back office system, so we are now in a place to push forward and onboard new advisers.”
As part of the wealth management growth push, Walker Crips said it was also looking to make cost savings by looking at processes, renegotiating contracts and potentially stripping back office space, as the company continues to work from home effectively.
The wealth management drive comes as Walker Crips looks to overhaul its structure, turning its four regulated entities into one integrated firm.
Walker Crips is currently made up of wealth management, investment management, pensions and collectives businesses — all regulated separately — but Mr Lam said it was time to “bring it under one roof”.
Mr Lam pledged there were no plans for redundancies at this time, with jobs more likely to be redeployed than lost, and that the move would simply help maintain efficiencies of scale and cost.
Walker Crips has already started planning the restructure and hopes to set plans before the regulator by mid-2021.
The chief executive’s comments come as Walker Crips reported loss before tax of nearly half a million pounds in its half yearly results, published today (November 27).
Its results for the six months to September showed a loss of £451,000, compared with a profit before tax of £620,000 in the same period last year.
Its assets under management slipped from £5.1bn in 2019 to £4.8bn as at September 30, while its total revenue fell slightly from £15.6m to £14.4m.