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Come on, come on, let’s get together

Acquisitions are aplenty at the moment, with the latest, having been on the cards for some time, being the long-awaited purchase of Burns-Anderson.

Money Portal tabled a bid for £14.2m yesterday to acquire the share capital including £5m of assets held in the Bristol-based firm’s plc.

The deal is now subject to roughly a 21-day offer period, in which shareholders have to consider whether they will agree to the terms of the deal. The regulator also has to agree to the terms, but Burns-Anderson’s board of directors made the recommendation yesterday.

Money Portal, never shy about its plans for world domination – or rather to control 25 per cent of asset flows in the UK market by acquisition of scale firms, is confident that the cultural synergy of B-A’s board – led by chief executive Mike Hughes and finance director Peter Coleman – as well as its commercial robustness, make it an ideal fit.

The Money Portal group, which now boasts a national IFA Bates, execution-only discount broker Willis Owen, networks Sage and Burns-Anderson’s, Burns’ directly regulated proposition and its proprietary IFA will retain all brands individually.

It looks forward to offering its clients the wider suite of offerings, which it says will be paramount in treating customers fairly and giving maximum choice to consumers – particularly orphan clients and to their advisers seeking exit strategies or practice buyout.

Towergate Financial Services last week picked up Scottish IFA firm Albannach Financial Management in a move that it says gives it strong presence north of the border.

Towergate has made no secret of its plans to grow by acquisition in the IFA space, intending to challenge large national IFA models like Positive Solutions.

American wealth management firm Focus Financial Partners also moved outside its domestic territory as it picked up Manchester-based IFA firm Greystone Financial Services, announced earlier this week.

The deal sees Focus introducing its services to the UK and moving Greystone’s 20 advisers – working out of Manchester and London offices – into its stable. Greystone will remain as a brand though and will be used as a central hub through which to bring new smaller firms in the Focus group.

It has also laid out firm plans to acquire other UK IFA firms that share Greystone’s client-centric approach to wealth management.

Elsewhere, Sesame has invested a huge amount – up to £2m in fact – in treating customers fairly. The group says it will be spending £1m on new staff and systems in order to assure its network membership that they will all be in a strong enough position to meet the FSA’s deadlines, but the total cost for TCF might be nearer £2m on an annual ongoing basis.

Sesame took the decision to ringfence this amount within its standard costs for providing adviser support services as it says the FSA’s focus on TCF as a standalone initiative warranted the isolation on this area as an outlay.

But Sesame has been criticised by some who feel the firm ought to have been providing focus on this area anyway, as a major element of supporting IFAs.

Sesame concedes this point – saying there is nothing ‘new’ that will be spent in order to meet these growing requirements for TCF, merely that the cost of doing so has now been counted in isolation, mirroring the focus of the regulator.

It is however adamant that adviser charges will not increase as a direct consequence of the push.


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