Bank of Ireland is considering selling subsidiary Chase de Vere Financial Solutions as part of the wide-ranging review of its UK division it is undertaking with consultants KPMG.
In what could herald the start of another round of consolidation in the IFA sector, BoI has admitted it is working with KPMG on “developing the future strategy” of Chase de Vere, which merged with IFA MX Financial Solutions last May. Money Marketing understands the review is being handled at KPMG by partner Richard Clarke, who has steered consolidation deals involving Bankhall, Momentum and Aitchinson & Colegrave, among others.
BoI says it remains supportive of Chase de Vere's management but admits the firm is facing a “challenging environment”. In January, Chase de Vere was hit with a £165,000 fine for launching a misleading structured product promotion. Managing director Mark Bogard resigned in April as Chase de Vere shifted focus to its private client and employee benefit divisions.
Bogard, who was replaced by St James's Place strategy adviser Evelyn Bourke, was chiefly responsible for overseeing the merger between Chase de Vere Investments and MX Financial Solutions, another BoI subsidiary. That deal left Chase de Vere with 100 RIs and resulted in a rebrand.
If Chase de Vere is sold, it could spark another wave of consolidation, which has seen high-profile firms such as Bates Investment Services bought by rivals. The Money Portal, Bates' owner, is about to embark on a wave of acquisitions expected to add nine firms to its stable of brokers, which includes Willis Owen, HCF and the Isa and With-Profits Bond Shops.
As a pure IFA, Chase de Vere does not fit TMP's general policy of buying discount brokers although it says it is keen to expand its advisory arm.
A BoI statement says: “We can confirm that we are working with KPMG on developing the future strategy of Chase de Vere Financial Solutions. We remain supportive of the management team. This is a business that has a challenging environment at present. However, we recognise the value of an independent financial adviser in our portfolio of services.”
KPMG would not comment on the matter.