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Hornbuckle switches to plc and plans float

Hornbuckle Mitchell is set to become a public limited company by the end of the month, with a view to listing on Aim next year.

The firm will consolidate its Sipp arm, Hornbuckle Mitchell Trustees, and its IFA arm, Hornbuckle Mitchell Associates, into a single firm called Hornbuckle Mitch- ell to provide greater clarity for investors.

Although not yet confirmed, an Aim quotation is likely and existing directors will look to retain a controlling stake in the business.

Chief executive Mark Stubbs says the group is waiting for its Sipp business to grow further before flotation.

It currently administers 3,800 Sipps and says it is bringing in over 200 new clients a month, with an average case size of over 200,000. By moving to a plc basis, the group will build a track record of reporting in a bid to improve transparency.

Stubbs concedes it is possible the firm could be taken over by a rival before it comes to market and it is also likely that rivals may buy into it to hedge their bets. He says the group will keep its IFA arm, which has five RIs. Although largely closed to new business, it has a big legacy book of clients and helps advisers with pension transfers.

Stubbs says Hornbuckle Mitchell will take property into its full Sipp proposition and is building relations with lawyers around the major European markets to support foreign buy to lets.

He says: “We are becoming a plc in the next few weeks, with a view to listing later. This will probably not happen this year because the market is not necessarily right and we are not attractive enough in size yet.”

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