In selling half of Wentworth Rose to Aegon, chief executive Philip Rose hopes to have struck a deal to frighten the competition and make the entire industry sit up and take notice.
“We have punched above our weight for some time. We can now stand eyeball to eyeball with the competition. We are now a premiership deal with an eye on the championship,” he says.
With £550m under management, 1,000 individual clients and 46 consultants, Surrey-based Wentworth Rose is hardly a minnow. A strong feature of the company, which undoubtedly attracted the eye of Aegon, is the retirement counselling service it offers to employees of 35 FTSE100 companies.
Rose stresses there will be no rationalisation of the business or any merging of admin with Scottish Equitable. Wentworth Rose has plans to more than double its number of registered individuals to 98 by 2004.
He is contemptuous of life companies which did not want to commit to a deal at the outset but wanted a slice of the cake at the 11th hour. As part of the terms of the agreement, any shares in Wentworth Rose would have to be offered to Aegon.
Rose thinks his announcement will spur many other companies into similar deals. He believes the days of the IFA cottage industry are numbered and that to remain independent will require the financial backing of a bigger company.
The Aegon deal is subject to FSA approval and Rose will be asking the regulator for a waiver of the better than best rules until the new post-polarisation regime is announced. Under the better than best rules as they currently stand, Rose says they will do very little Aegon or ScotEq business.
He says he approached Aegon rather than the other way around. He announced his intention of raising capital in November last year and instructed KPMG before the FSA issued CP121.
Rose is ex-army and held the rank of captain and briefly acting major before selecting civilian life. Being used to acting independently, he says it will be different taking into account his new strategic partner.
But he has seen the way that the Dutch insurance giant has allowed advisers to operate in Holland and the US. The Aegon corporate ethos of allowing subsidiaries to operate with relative autonomy is something that appealed strongly to him. As part of the agreement with Aegon, Wentworth Rose's business plans remain unaltered. “Being tied is not on our radar. The deal allows us to look at CP121 flexibly. Part of the business could become multi-tied or AR depending on the rules when they are announced.”
R ecent weeks have seen Rose burning the midnight oil but he has a lot of energy. He runs at least three times a week and takes part in a variety of sporting activities that ensure his adrenaline levels are kept as high as they were during his Royal Artillery days. He loves flying, including acrobatics, and has a part-share in an airplane. He also enjoys horse-riding.
Brought up in Catford in South London, Rose says he was the only person at his school to go to Sandhurst. He went into the Royal Artillery and served in Germany and Northern Ireland. He was due to go to the Falklands but did not get further than Gibraltar. At the age of 30 and married with two daughters – he is recently divorced – Rose cast around for something less nomadic. He says being a salesman was one area where you were not penalised for being too old. He joined and was trained by Towry Law. He was amused recently to get a congratulatory note from Towry saying they were glad to see one of their boys doing well.
After a stint with the now defunct Crown Life, he co-founded Wentworth Rose with Ray Peyre, as a specialist retirement IFA.
Rose laughs when asked about the sums involved in the deal with Aegon. New managing director Tudor Taylor is given a small shareholding but otherwise Rose and Peyre – who is standing down to become a non-executive director – stand to profit handsomely. Rose jokingly says: “I will have to find a good IFA but they are rather thin on the ground.” Aegon UK believes it has found one.
Born: March 24, 1954
Education and qualifications: Catford Boys Secondary Modern, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Career to date: Royal Artillery, Towry Law,Crown Life, then set up Wentworth Rose
Career ambition: “To make Wentworth Rose the pre-eminent IFA.”
Life ambition: “To rediscover the single life – something I find both exciting and bemusing.”
Likes: Theatre, reading, watching football and rugby, running, flying, riding horses
Dislikes: “Bureaucracy and anything that holds me up.”
Peers say: “He is one of the smartest and most determined people I know Be nice to him as he is going to make a lot of money”