Mergers and acquisitions  

Benchmark adds £120mn AUM with Northern Ireland adviser

Benchmark adds £120mn AUM with Northern Ireland adviser
Ed Dymott, managing director at Benchmark Capital

Benchmark Capital, part of the Schroders Group, has bought Waterhouse Financial Planning, adding over £120mn in client assets.

Waterhouse, which is based in Northern Ireland, establishes a presence for Benchmark in the area and increases the group’s total number of financial advisers to 64 across seven offices in the UK.

As part of the deal, the team will remain in the business following the acquisition, providing continuity of service to clients. 

Speaking to FTAdviser, Benchmark’s managing director Ed Dymott, said: “We are really excited by this acquisition, we've known Waterhouse for some time now. They first started using the Benchmark technology and compliance service back in 2018 so there has been a four year journey. 

“We've helped support their business in terms of running more efficiently and helping them grow to where they got to today. Now we have ultimately offered their founders an exit option which is a natural evolution.”

Dymott explained that the firm did not have a presence in Northern Ireland until the Waterhouse purchase. 

Waterhouse will provide Benchmark with a presence through its principal office in Derry, where all staff are based. 

“Clearly, we think there are growth opportunities within the business as it stands today but we’d like to expand over time, more broadly across Northern Ireland as well,” Dymott added. 

“We've also very recently invested in the facilities there as well so we just put them into a new office which has got room to grow and what is interesting about Waterhouse is that most financial planning businesses end up in Belfast, but being in Derry gives us a different geographical coverage.”

Waterhouse managing director Thomas Leonard will focus on developing the business across the region, with financial planner Sinead Meenan leading the financial planning practice.

Leonard said: “We are pleased for our clients and the team to become part of Benchmark, which will enable us to further accelerate our ambition to be the leading Chartered Financial Planner in Northern Ireland. 

“We initially partnered with Benchmark given their reputation for supporting high quality, independent, chartered financial planners through their technology enabled proposition. We believe they are unrivalled in their approach and have given us the tools, support and flexibility to grow our business over the last four years.”

The two firms said they see “significant growth opportunities” in Northern Ireland and will build their presence in Derry, as well as looking at further expansion in the region. 

Leonard added: “Like many firms who are considering their succession plans, we evaluated many options. However, we believe the values and vision of Benchmark are best aligned with ours and this allows us to continue to deliver great client outcomes without compromise.

“Stability, security and long-term client outcomes and destination is very important to us. Partnering with a firm like Benchmark, with secure parentage, enables us to deliver this."