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Cru leads alliance to create national IFA

Cru Investment Management director Jon Maguire is launching an alliance forum of adviser firms which aims to become a national IFA in three years.

Six founder adviser firms have already invested in the alliance – provisionally named Optima – which will share best business practice disciplines, including marketing, compliance, IT, product research, finance and human resources.

Maguire has plans in place to set up a national firm in June 2011 which will purchase the collective.

Optima hopes to recruit 25 founder firms by the end of June. Firms must have over eight investment advisers and a turnover of at least £1m.

Former Interdependence and Alpha 2 Omega chief Stewart Wooles, who joined Cru last December, will be Optima chief executive.

The current founding firms are SD Asset Management, Squirrel Financial Management, Arden Court, Derwent Bell, Tax & Wealth Management and De Montfort Professional Wealth Management.

The firm hopes to list by around 2012, with each founder firm getting a share proportionate to the amount of business it writes.

Cru will be given the investment management mandate and will offer its first tailored Oeic, the CF Arch Optima Oeic, from June 1. This will also be rolled out to the wider IFA community.

The Oeic will invest 55 per cent in private finance, 30 per cent in private equity, 5 per cent in sustainable opportunities and 10 per cent in cash and will sit in the cautious managed sector.

Maguire says the strategy of providers buying up distribution is shortsighted.

He says: “Everyone seems to be doing it but we do not see it as viable. By similar firms mirroring their businesses, you have like-minded people joining forces to put best practice in place.”

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