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Foreign firms are looking to buy UK IFAs

A new website designed to link buyers with IFA practices up for sale is attracting foreign firms looking at moving into the UK market.

The brokers4sale site was launched by former financial services recruitment specialist Gary Medcraff in December and is said to have generated 600 hits in its first week of operation.

Medcraff says he has been surprised by the response from firms interested in acquisitions, far outweighing the number interested in selling their businesses.

The site charges buyers or sellers only if a sale is successful.

The site has attracted one big foreign firm which is looking to buy several advisory firms in the UK and Medcraff expects several more enquiries from European financial services companies. He says: “The site takes away geographic boundaries.”

It deals with mergers and acquisitions and aims to match businesses up for sale with buyers who have outlined what they are looking for and the price they are prepared to pay.

Medcraff says one of the main complaints he hears from advisory firms is that although they receive interest from a couple of buyers, which are often networks, negotiations collapse before they reach completion. Using the site, sellers are usually in discussions with five or more buyers simultaneously which have effectively to tender against each other.

Leicester IFA McCartney and Dowie was sold to Berkeley Burke using the website, forming the new IFA Berkeley Burke McCartney and Dowie, and its general insurance arm was also sold through the site to Berkeley Berry Birch.

BBMD managing director Paul Linnecar says: “This site certainly will not be here today gone tomorrow. I think that mortgage and general insurance regulation is going to cause mayhem, with many brokers wanting to jump ship and sell their businesses. This is a very timely operation.”

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