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Attivo acquires four IFAs

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Attivo has acquired four IFA businesses and says it is on track to complete a further seven deals this year.

The chartered financial planning and wealth management firm has acquired Hertfordshire-based Porter DeVere, which was 130 active clients, and London-based Lifetime Financial Partnership, which has 180 active clients.

Attivo has also bought Worcester-based Morgan Fitzgerald and Bracknell-based Pearson Financial Services.

The firm has now completed five acquisitions in 2015 and says it plans to complete a total of 12 by the end of the year.

It has £500m in funds under management, administration and advice, and plans to increase this to £2bn within three years.

Attivo chief executive Stephen Harper says: “Attivo has taken the opportunity presented by a generation of IFAs seeking retirement from the industry and has worked with these firms to take over their clients and their financial planning requirements.

“For someone who has built up a loyal and valuable client bank, it is incredibly important to them that they leave their business and clients to a firm that puts the needs of their clients first.”

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  1. I have always wondered about these aggressively acquisitive companies. Whilst the odd merger or takeover may make perfect sense, this pell- mell rush to hoover up as much as possible not only appears unseemly, but one may wonder if it is even good sense.

    The first question that occurs is why the firm isn’t able to grow organically. Why isn’t it attracting clients of its own?

    The second is more of an observation. In our business it is the clients that are the capital. If they don’t stick then the firm has bought nothing and the vendor is left empty handed. So in order to be successful an acquisition has to (as far as possible) offer a proposition that is at least, if not more, appealing than that of the ceding company. Presumably the clients have been reasonably long term. Does the ethos of the acquirer align? Is the investment process reasonably similar? Is the whole process of interaction with the customer something to which the acquired client will relate? Is the charging structure aligned (or cheaper)?

    From what I have seen many of the points are not met – indeed they are often way out. So one may wonder if the clients will stick? Just talking about funds under management seems to me to ignore the core point – it isn’t the funds – it’s the clients – they are the ones who have the final say.

    Many a vendor may be flattered and enthusiastic at the slick approach, but one does wonder if, at the end of the process, their expectations are fully realised. My own gut feeling is that they invariably are not. It is a case not so much of buyer beware, but of vendor beware.

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