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Royal Liver set for £17m deal to buy Park Row

Friendly society Royal Liver is poised to snap up IFA group Park Row for £16.7m in a deal that moves the society firmly into the IFA arena.

Park Row will keep its own name and operate as a stand-alone business, continuing to offer a multi-platform distribution model.

Royal Liver says it has struck the deal to expand its distribution and product development in the IFA market in a move away from direct sales. It says it may look at further IFA investments.

This is the second deal that Park Row has been involved in the last year following a reverse takeover by venture capitalist Birchin International in March last year, valuing it at £17m.

Park Row has brought its turnover target forward a year, aiming to achieve £50m turnover by the end of 2005 from £10m at the end of December 2002. It says it will increase its number of advisers to 550 from 300 by 2005.

After depolarisation, the group plans to have tied advisers, commission-based IFAs and fee-based advisers. It is not ruling out taking on Royal Liver direct-sales staff to train through its mortgage division.

Park Row spokeswoman Jo Smith says: “We will develop our own strategy and be the leading IFA group in a series of acquisitions that Royal Liver is planning to make.”

Royal Liver chief executive and director of IFA operations and development Mike Warr says: “We believe that the IFA sector will survive in the long term and that Park Row is the model for the future marketplace. The firms have a really good chemistry.”

Axa sales and client management director Gary Tarleton considers depolarisation will give advisers the flexibility which will allow them to develop business models to meet clients&#39 varied needs

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