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Cofunds chairman Charlie Eppinger steps down as L&G completes acquisition

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Cofunds chairman Charlie Eppinger has stepped down and retired from the Cofunds board following the completion of Legal and General’s acquisition of the platform.

In March, L&G announced it was acquiring the 75 per cent share capital of Cofunds it did not already own, for a cash consideration of £131m. The acquisition valued Cofunds at £175m.

L&G chief executive of savings Mark Gregory says: “We are thrilled that everyone involved has worked so hard to ensure a smooth transition.  

“As ownership changes to Legal & General, I would like to publicly thank Charlie Eppinger for his 10 years of association with Cofunds. He has guided the platform from its early days to the highly successful, market leading business it is today. He’ll be missed but he can retire from the Cofunds board safe in the knowledge that Chris Last and the team at Cofunds will take the platform on to even bigger and better things. We thank Charlie and wish him all the best.”

Cofunds business unit Chris Last says: “We have a strong and experienced executive team in place which is single minded in its focus on the job in hand, namely supporting the RDR and platform needs of Cofunds’ clients. 

“I am particularly pleased to be taking the helm of a company with such an abundance of talent and expertise as it means we can harness that talent for the benefit of all our clients. We have ambitious plans for the platform and this is an exciting time to be putting those plans in place.”

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

    Charlie is the highest profile guy to leave what I am now beginning to suspect is a sinking ship. Just look at the departures! How very depressing. And who replaces them? No doubt L&G apparatchiks, who have a pretty awful record in my experience of providing decent admin and backup for IFAs. They will certainly have a lot to prove.

    I have used Cofunds almost since their inception. The early days were very difficult, but they had dedicated people on hand who worked their butts off. Over the last 18 months or so I really have to say that service has fallen off a cliff. RDR is used as an excuse, but I don’t see this sort of mayhem at other platforms.

    Cofunds seem to be setting out their stall for institutional and self-directed business and leaving advisers to go hang. It would be interesting if the Platforum could get figures stripping out institutional and self-directed and seeing what (if any) the leakage is from the advised community. I have a suspicion that it is not flattering. I also hear rumours from some institutional sources that they are not at all happy about Cofunds proposed charges in this sphere either.

    You only have to look at the acquisition cost to see that this platform doesn’t even have a high opinion of its own worth. At the time of the takeover the total value was £175 million. According to the Platforum in April Cofunds lead the field with £47.7 billion under management. Taking this to be an American billion (47.7 plus eight zeros) and if we estimate that the average platform charge is 0.2%, then this indicates an annual income of around £95.4 million. Making the company value less than 2 years earnings. A sole trader IFA is worth more than that!

    It rather makes one wonder what L&G’s plans really are. They are not an outfit that buys a pig in a poke.

  2. Harry, I can see what you’re getting at, but if Cofunds have indeed lost their way over the last 18 months (and I’ve no idea if they have), maybe this is a good thing! The stakes will be high for L&G to not mess this up.

    Cofunds must have tens of billions in retail assets that earn better margin that institutional assets – surely they will want to protect that?

  3. @ Albert Smith

    I pray you will be right! But I’ll not hold my breath.

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