A venture capital trust and enterprise investment scheme business founded by former Hargreaves Lansdown staff is on its way to becoming the largest investment platform for high net worth investors following its acquisition of Clubfinance.
Wealth Club was founded in February 2016 by ex-Hargreaves director Alex Davies and four of his former colleagues to provide HNW individuals and experienced investors access to tax advantageous investments, an area he says is ripe for growth. Clubfinance, founded in 2002, is one of the UK’s largest execution-only VCT brokers.
All Clubfinance employees will move to a separate fund management business, Amberside Financial, which was incorporated in November and is controlled by two Clubfinance directors, David Scrivens and Philip Rhoden. They do not anticipate job losses.
On announcing the acquisition today, Davies said the new business will have more than 8,000 clients and assets under influence to over £435m.
Davies says: “Clubfinance fits perfectly with what we do and the acquisition supports our progression towards becoming the investment platform of choice for HNW and experienced investors, with best-in-class service, choice and research.”
He adds: “We believe with the pension restrictions beginning to bite as well as the new dividend tax and the crackdown on buy to let, demand for the products we offer, which is already very strong, is about to rocket.”
Clubfinance offers EIS, VCT, investment, pension and stock-broking intermediation.
Clubfinance clients will be able to access improved investment information, research and exclusive deals via Wealth Club’s platform following the integration. They will also be able to apply online for VCTs and EIS.
Adalou Capital Advisors acted as exclusive financial adviser to Wealth Club in connection with the transaction.
Clubfinance director David Scrivens says: “The pace of technological and regulatory change has been fast over the past few years and we expect this trend to continue. Wealth Club has embraced technology and is resourced to keep up with regulatory change.
Scrivens says Clubfinance brings scale to deal, while Wealth Club offers “strategic might”, which is in the long-term best interests of their clients.
He adds: “Clubfinance clients have come to expect a high level of customer service and we feel that Wealth Club could not only match this, but actually exceed it by combining great service with the latest technology and helpful investment information.
“A good example is how Wealth Club has invested in online applications for VCTs and EIS which gives their clients an edge on getting into smaller offers that close within hours of opening. In addition on their website they have reviews and fund manager interviews for nearly all the products on offer which helps clients to decide which offers are most appropriate for them.”