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Money Portal setting a target to double its RIs within a year

Money Portal group operations director Richard Pearson is setting himself the target of more than doubling the advisory side of the business in 12 months.

The firm has a total of 40 advisers across its businesses, including investment specialist Bates Investment Services. Pearson, who joined Money Portal in December, has ambitions to more than double this to at least 100 by next spring.

He says that the quality of advisers and the quality of processes will be crucial in deciding which businesses to buy and thinks that the success of any IFA business is really down to its people.

Pearson says: “Having worked for big regulated businesses such as Willis National and Alexander Forbes, I feel I have an insight into what needs to happen to the IFA business. It has been run as something of a cottage industry until now.

“IFAs have excellent client focus and entrepreneurial skills, but a high level of systems control and corporate governance is needed to build a big business. We want Money Portal to be worth not tens of millions but hundreds of millions of pounds.”

Pearson feels that one of the main strengths of Money Portal is in offering security to IFAs.

He says: “If we can get good business deals with the right IFA firms, then we can give them the benefit of being part of a bigger group. It is a win-win situation.”

Money Portal chief executive Richard Craven is trying to raise funds for the expansion plans. After securing investment from US investment bank Bear Stearns, which now holds 3 per cent of the business, Money Portal hopes to make use of its enhanced credibility.

There are no plans to rebrand businesses such as Bates, which Pearson feels has a strong reputation. He says the main challenge is to leverage Bates’ strong research and analytical operations for the benefit of more clients. He says: “There has been lots of consolidation in the industry in recent years, which has vastly improved the way it is run.

“The challenge with Bates is to turn a good first division outfit into a premiership side.”

Pearson feels that setting clear objectives for the business is crucial and he aims to provide added value for clients, staff and shareholders. He is optimistic on business prospects and says: “Despite what the Government does to try to simplify products, we believe there will always be a market for financial advisers.”


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