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A stellar umbrella

Corporate Planning Group is set to attack the high-net worth individual

market by offering all the services required under one umbrella.

CPG&#39s business model is based on bringing in clients through the many

faces of the 10 companies that make up the group and steering them to the

relevant company when the opportunity arises.

The project is the development of Dorset-based Corporate Planning, a firm

set up by chief executive David Tuson in 1981, targeting small and medium

sized enterprises and high-net-worth individuals.

Tuson, who was on the board of Inter-Alliance when it floated on Aim last

year, plans to see the expansion strategy increase the group&#39s consultants

from six to 200 in three years by recruiting people from accounting,

banking and legal backgrounds as well as IFAs.

The firm operates on the understanding that cross-fertilisation of ideas

and expertise is the way to offer highnet-worth clients added value in a

way that is not presently widely available. Tuson says: “I believe good

salesmen in the main are poor technicians and good technicians are poor

salesmen. We want technicians and salespeople in the same branch.”

Tuson, who has focused on training throughout his career, has developed

distance-learning training products to shape the consultants the group will

require.

The 10 companies within the group are an IFA, a venture capitalist, a

business consultancy, a Guern-sey-based offshore IFA, an online advice

facility, a joint venture specialist, a portfolio manager, a valuation

company, an employee benefits consultancy and a mergers and acquisit-ions

adviser.

At present, the portfolio manager, valuation company and mergers and

acquisitions company are yet to be rolled out. But CPG has raised

£2.8m of new equity capital from private investor clients to fund the

group&#39s expansion and has just opened a new Teesside office, with a further

17 offices planned for the UK.

CPG plans to raise further investment from institutions in the autumn,

with a view to a listing on Aim next spring.

Tuson is joined on the board by CPG chairman Nicholas Morant, who was

previously managing director, investment banking at Nikko Europe, and group

managing director Chris Robinson, who was formerly sales director of the

appointed representative division with Prudential.

The group&#39s strategy is clearly aimed at the high end of the market, with

no clients worth less than £1m. It boasts that its average earnings

per year for a new client is 10.3 times that of the industry average of

£1,200, and says it will not look at new clients who will generate

less than £10,000 in the first year.

This is clearly nice work if you can get it but it will remain to be seen

if the formula can be maintained for 200 registered individuals in 18

offices across the UK.

Tuson believes the group&#39s strategy of generating new clients from

personal recommendations, corporate seminars, professional briefings and

joint ventures with accountants and solicitors will fuel the expansion.

He says: “We are IFAs by default. Our financial services business comes

from our non-regulated business. The 10 companies make the full business

cycle. Any individual will need two or three of the companies.”

Forty per cent of CPG&#39s work is regulated and 60 per cent is non-regulated.

The group generates the majority of its income through fees, with 60 per

cent in fees and 40 per cent in commission. The fees are claimed to be

self-funding, standing at 5 per cent of money saved for the client,

although commission remains an option.

It believes the most difficult challenge it faces is getting people to

think about bottom-line profit rather than commission. The idea is to have

everyone on fees at CPG.

The firm is clear that it is not an IFA, saying it is a corporate

consulting group that happens to have an IFA as part of the group. But, for

the business model to develop as genuinely different from an IFA, it will

need to show clear expertise in a number of fields, which will be no mean

feat.

But Tuson anticipates more high-level boardroom appointments soon and

believes that his team can effectively reproduce the formula across the

country.

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