Openwork is to acquire 2plan Wealth Management in a bid to build its whole of market IFA capability ahead of the RDR.
The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, will see the multi-tied network buy 100 per cent of 2plan, which has 205 advisers. Openwork chief executive Martin Davis says he would like the number of IFAs to triple ahead of the RDR. He says: “We would like to see 2plan with 500 to 600 advisers in the next couple of years.”
Standard Life currently has a 15 per cent holding in the IFA, which was set up by Chris Smallwood and Chris Davies in 2007.
2plan is to continue operating as a standalone business and the branding will remain. Openwork’s IFA referral service, Openwork Market Solutions, will also remain unaffected.
Davis says there are no staff lock-ins at 2plan but there will be incentive schemes to keep key people at the firm.
He adds that Openwork advisers who want to become whole of market can move across to 2plan. Davis says: “We want to provide our advisers with the option to move into the IFA market if they want to. We think there will be a move from the IFA world to restricted advice and, as the biggest restricted player in the UK, we want to give advisers the option to become independent as soon as possible.”
2plan Wealth Management chief executive Chris Smallwood says: “It became obvious that our future strategies with Standard Life were becoming misaligned.
“We are a young ambitious firm that has only been trading for three years and we think we have found a partner that will offer us support to help us grow faster than before.”