Burns-Anderson put itself in the shop window last year with a price tag of £12m. Sources close to the deal have suggested the purchase price is nearer £13m.
It is not clear whether the Burns-Anderson brand would be kept or if the business would join Money Portal’s Sage network.
Bristol-based Burns-Anderson, which has almost 500 RIs, has said that its status as an unquoted plc makes it harder to raise funds, which it is keen to do to invest in technology and deliver further payouts to shareholders. It will pay a dividend next week, its first in 20 years.
Money Portal has an overt acquisition strategy and chief executive Richard Craven said in October that it had three planned acquisitions that would take adviser numbers from 1,200 to 2,200 over the next 12 months, adding £14bn of assets to the company’s total.
Craven says: “The management team notes the media speculation because Money Portal, as the UK’s biggest and fastest-growing firm of IFAs, has a publicly stated acquisition strategy in place. There has been much speculation in the press and therefore it is company policy not to comment on market rumour. If and when an acquisition is confirmed, TMP will be happy to give full details.”
Burns-Anderson chief executive Mike Hughes says: “Last year at our conference, we said our shareholders had been waiting for 20 years for a dividend, which will be paid out next week. If we can find a few strong shareholders that are good for everyone – the board, members and the FSA – then we will do things in that way.”