Fairstone Group  

Fairstone hits 50th acquisition with Sidmouth-based purchase

Fairstone hits 50th acquisition with Sidmouth-based purchase
Lee Hartley, chief executive officer of Fairstone

Fairstone has secured its 50th acquisition with its latest purchase of Sidmouth-based East Devon Associates for an undisclosed sum.

East Devon Associates was founded in 2004 and the firm partnered with Fairstone through its downstream buyout model in 2019. 

The firm said during its integration phase, it has seen a 17 per cent increase in revenue.

As part of the deal, it will see five staff and 500 clients move over to Fairstone, adding a combined total of £350mn of client assets to the group.

Graham Salter, company principal at East Devon Associates, said: “Working with Fairstone over the past two years has reassured us that we have made the right choice for ourselves, our staff and most importantly for our clients.”

Lee Hartley, chief executive officer of Fairstone, said: “Watching the Fairstone family flourish is an immense source of pride to me, and I am grateful to everyone who has been part of that journey. It’s fitting that we’re able to celebrate our significant business highlights today while welcoming a quality firm such as East Devon Associates.

“Graham, Martin and the team will become long-term colleagues, joining us on the next stage of our journey, as we continue to invest in growth, bringing in like-minded businesses who share our vision and commitment to excellence in the sector.”

In the same announcement, Fairstone said it was celebrating three major milestones – securing its 50th acquisition, 10 years of M&A activity and hitting £100mn of revenues.

Hartley said: “We’ve now reached three very significant milestones which reflect our substantial growth in a very clear fashion. These are real indicators of maturity and are also important markers in our mission to establish ourselves as the leader in the whole-of-market wealth advisory space.

“Our first acquisition 10 years ago laid the foundations for our exceptional London business that has evolved from those origins. Thanks to the success of our unique downstream buy out (DBO) acquisition programme, we now enjoy a truly national footprint, delivering first-class service to clients countrywide.”

Last year, the group secured investment from global private equity firm TA Associates, alongside reinvestment from Synova and increased funding from Alcentra. 

The deal saw TA Associates take a significant stake in the business although details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Fairstone said its growth strategy was “further reinforced” as a result of TA Associates.

It said the investment formed “the central aspect of a multiple financing boost for the firm”, with private equity backers Synova also reinvesting into the group and funders Alcentra, the European arm of BNY Mellon, increasing the scale of the acquisition facilities available.

Hartley added: “The combined expertise and backing of TA Associates, Synova and Alcentra provides us with the capacity to expand our acquisition activity with the benefit of an exceptionally deep and wide capital base.

“This underpins our growth trajectory, and we are looking to bring more ambitious firms into the group over the course of the next 10 years and beyond.