IFA  

PE firm buys Ascot Lloyd from Oaktree

PE firm buys Ascot Lloyd from Oaktree
Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

Ascot Lloyd has been sold to Swedish private equity investor Nordic Capital for an undisclosed sum by its owner, Oaktree Capital Management.

The national advice firm has £9.8bn in funds under influence, serves some 20,000 clients and employs 500 people across the UK.

Bought by Oaktree back in 2017, Ascot Lloyd’s latest change of ownership, announced today (April 21), will also see Nordic Capital acquire the interests held by Ares Management Corporation, an investment manager which financed the IFA back in February 2021 for acquisitions.

Nigel Stockton, chief executive of Ascot Lloyd, said of the deal: “We found a great partner in Oaktree, and more recently Ares, who helped us build a great business. We are now thrilled about the opportunity to work with Nordic Capital, whose partnership approach will continue to see our people and our culture at the heart of our success.”

The IFA boss added that the new owner’s investment provides it with “substantial new firepower” to accelerate growth, both through “increas[ing] the ambition” of its acquisition strategy, and further investing in its people and technology to support organic growth.

This will include a focus on its digital proposition and “sustainable savings”.

Oaktree first invested in Ascot Lloyd in 2013. When the firm bought the IFA in July 2017, it merged the company with Bellpenny to create a £6bn advice business.

That year, Ascot Lloyd had fallen into the red, posting an operating loss of £1.5mn, compared with a profit of £470,617 for the previous year.

At the time, Stockton put the loss down to increased redundancy costs and investment in subsidiary Harvard Financial Management.

In 2020, the firm posted a much larger loss of £30mn, which it blamed on a combination of less new business, Covid-19 induced market conditions, and administrative costs of acquired firms.

That year also saw assets under management jumped from £6.8bn to £9.4bn, which it said was largely down to Avellemy, the group’s discretionary fund manager (DFM) responsible for £1.8bn of these assets at the end of the year.

Despite the growing loss, Federico Alvarez-Demalde, Oaktree’s managing director, said since he was appointed to lead the investment at the end of 2016, the company has “tripled AUM” and “more than quadrupled revenues”, with “over 80 acquisitions executed to date”. 

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

ruby.hinchliffe@ft.com