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Simply Biz adds 1,000 RIs with buy

SimplyBiz has bought Glasgow-based adviser services provider Compliance First in a deal that sees it increase its adviser client base by a third.

Around 1,000 registered individuals, representing 205 adviser firms, use Compliance First, giving the combined group 4,000 advisers.

Compliance First was owned by managing director Eric Ronald and another unnamed individual. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

Both firms will retain their own brands but SimplyBiz chairman Ken Davy, who becomes chairman of the combined group, says the increased scale will improve cost-effectiveness and extend the range of services available to advisers.

He says advisers using Compliance First will be able to access SimplyBiz’s mortgage club and discretionary portfolio management service.

The two firms will also look to cut costs by integrating their technology systems.

SimplyBiz operations director Neil Stevens becomes joint managing director alongside Ronald. Ronald’s silent partner has left the firm. Ronald says he shares Davy’s view that the network model is outdated and is encouraging IFAs to move to a directly regulated environment.

He says: “Support services firms are the evolution of the network model, which has had its day. We are trying to encourage advisers away from networks. The new scale should give us stronger negotiating power with product providers and we are planning to synergise the technology systems currently used by Compliance First with those used by SimplyBiz.”

Davy says: “We will each continue to service our own members but draw on the services that each other firm offers. Compliance First will now also benefit from the financial strength of SimplyBiz. Over time, we expect we will make the brands even stronger now we have joined forces.”

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