Benchmark expands NI presence with adviser purchase

Benchmark expands NI presence with adviser purchase
Ed Dymott, managing director – wealth at Benchmark Capital

Benchmark Capital, the wealth management business owned by Schroders, has further expanded into Northern Ireland with its acquisition of Kennedy Independent Financial Advice.

The deal marks Benchmark’s second acquisition in Northern Ireland after the firm bought Waterhouse Financial Planning in May last year.

The purchase forms part of Benchmark’s strategy to build a central hub in Derry by adding £80mn in assets, strengthening the local team and accelerating growth in Northern Ireland.

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Kennedy Independent Financial Advice’s staff will become part of Benchmark Financial Planning and will move to the firm’s new premises in Derry. 

Michael Kennedy, managing director of Kennedy Independent Financial Advice, will work with wealth planning director Sinead Meenan who leads the financial planning practice.

Kennedy said: “Our partnership with Benchmark marks an exciting development in the next chapter of KFA that will provide security and stability for our clients and our staff. 

“We pride ourselves on our personal approach and working with client’s long-term goals in mind. Benchmark shares this long-term philosophy and will enable us to deliver the same quality advice, but with the added benefit of access to a wider pool of support through their technology enabled proposition. 

“We’re looking forward to moving to the new offices in Derry and the potential that this move unlocks for us and the commitment to Chartered financial advice in the region”.

Ed Dymott, managing director wealth at Benchmark, added: “Kennedy Independent Financial Advice is a much-valued addition to the Benchmark family. It not only has a strong reputation for providing quality advice but has strong ties to the local area and a deep understanding of their clients. 

“We feel this very much aligns with our own values and we look forward to working with them to further strengthen our base in Derry and also provide support for future growth and development in the region.”

In December, Dymott told FTAdviser that the type of firms Benchmark acquires are typically part of a pipeline of firms “where the owner doesn’t want to retire now, but maybe wants to have a plan for when they retire in three to five years, and a plan where they know the staff and the clients are looked after”.

At the time he said: "That’s probably our USP, and differs from maybe the more typical consolidator model. Consolidators are probably more short term in their thinking, their aim is to sell it on in a few years. ” 

Dymott, who joined the firm in February 2021, said the other focus of his acquisition strategy had been to “broaden our geographical reach – we weren’t well enough represented in the Midlands, and have tried to address that with some of the deals we have done”.

Schroders bought a majority stake in Benchmark in 2016, before buying the remaining minority interest in 2021.