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MLP is aiming to double IFAs to 100

Bestinvest has acquired pension specialist SMA Group in a move that almost doubles its staff.

Bestinvest chairman and managing director John Spiers will be chief
executive of the combined group and SMA chairman and chief executive
Peter Howland will be chairman.

The deal has been financed from Bestinvest’s cash reserves and share capital.

The group will have around 100 staff, including 43 registered
advisers. Bestinvest previously had 54 staff.

Spiers says the branding of the two groups will not be changed in the
short term but it will be reviewed next year. The group predicts
annual profits of more than 3m and over 2bn in client
assets.

Howland says he expects further recruits next year rather than
redundancies. He says: “Our employee benefits consultancy will plug
a gap in Bestinvest’s current offering and their discretionary
investment management service will fit very well with our
highnet-worth clients.”

Spiers says: “At a time when many IFAs are joining forces and
seeking product provider funding in a bid for survival, this deal
bucks the trend. It is not simply a case of bolting another
profitable business to ours. Our intention is to integrate the two
businesses so we can provide the most complete and cost-effective
offering.”

MLP Private Finance is planning to double its number of IFAs in the next year.

The firm, which is part of German advice giant MLP Group, has 50
consultants based in London, Birmingham, Newcastle and Edinburgh and
aims to have 100 IFAs by the start of 2006.

mlp recently won an Investors in People award for its training
programme. It is one of the few IFAs to get accreditation.

In July, the firm set up an IFA training academy in association with
the Sir John Cass Business School, which is part of City University,
London.

MLP was launched in the UK in 2001. The holding company has offices
in Europe specialising in long-term financial solutions.

MLP managing director Frank Mesterharm says: “Over the past two
years, MLP has dedicated a lot of time and effort towards creating
high levels of support and training for our staff. As a profession,
the industry has a lot to offer graduated and existing advisers.

“What is important is that measures are being made to ensure that
the benefits and advantages are being made aware to those considering
their future.”

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