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Standard Life advice arm to buy Almary Green

Carl Lamb

Standard Life-owned advice consolidator 1825 is to buy Norwich-based adviser Almary Green.

Almary Green managing director Carl Lamb is understood to be moving to 1825 as part of the deal.

Lamb will continue to head the business, and join 1825’s executive committee.

It represents the first major acquisition for 1825 since it was launched by Standard Life in February last year as a restricted advice business.

The deal brings assets under advice of around £400m to 1825, as well as 1,900 clients.

Almary Green has 44 employees, including 22 advisers and paraplanners.

Completion is expected in the first half of 2016, pending regulatory approvals. It will mean that Standard Life will have over 50 financial planners advising over 7,000 clients on around £2.0bn of assets.

Lamb says the deal means Almary Green will become a restricted adviser.

He says: “I haven’t taken this route lightly but I do feel that the argument for independence has weakened with the pressures on affordability and access to advice, and that the competitive nature of the industry means that our offering will remain in our clients’ best interests. 

“Aligning ourselves with one of the industry’s major players, Standard Life, will ensure that we can plan for the long term with confidence and bring continuity and stability to our clients.

“The range of advice we can give will not change and, although our proposition will be structured using a restricted framework, we will continue to have access to market leading solutions and strategies for our clients. For our clients, it will be business as usual:  we will review their portfolios as part of our normal ongoing service to them, only making changes as and when they are indicated to be suitable.”

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Comments

There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Almary Green will become a restricted adviser.

    He says: “I haven’t taken this route lightly but I do feel that the argument for independence has weakened with the pressures on affordability and access to advice, and that the competitive nature of the industry means that our offering will remain in our clients’ best interests.

    Or a quick translation. I have trousered somewhere around £10 million or so and Standard have bought us to flog their wares – so in the interests of my bank balance I am chucking independent advice.

  2. Jeremy Woodruff 15th March 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Good luck Carl nice guy genuinely cares about his clients and staff and also has a pretty good handle on where the profession is heading

  3. And how man of those 22 advisers now up sticks and go elsewhere to remain independant because they do know it had a future and don’t want to be stuck flagging Std Life to their clients from now on

  4. Take The High Road 15th March 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Now, now Harry, that’s quite a purile accusation. I think if more IFA’s(like Carl and his firm, AG) really took a good hard look at themselves and saw what they currently offered clients through a CIP, they would see that a restricted Model is what they’ve offered all along!!

    Incidentally, good luck to Carl and their staff – a nice firm and very well thought of firm out there whatever they have decided to do!!

  5. For your information the deal was a long time in the making, other buyers were available not just restricted ones, but having looked at the 1825 proposition it wasn’t a change in practice from what we currently offer

    • Now that you are on the board of 1825, Carl, how about pushing for a change to independent status. Surely the conflicts of interest can be sorted to clients’ benefit.

      Otherwise, I fear that whether you meant it or not, your clients will be disadvantaged.

      Needless to say, I don’t agree with your comment re the argument for independence and I must admit it does sound a bit like a weak attempt at justification for a move that is ultimately more in your interests than clients. But then who is in a position to judge. Ultimately most people have to take a commercial view at some point regarding their businesses. After all, every client out there is going to do the same (usually for much less).

      Ian Coley

  6. It’s just a great shame that good firms such as this are chucking the purity of Independence on the alter of convenience or/and profit. I can only hope that those who keep the faith will reap the rewards accordingly.

  7. Take The High Road 16th March 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Well, I’m afraid with what I have seen there doesn’t seem to be many completely independent advisers our there any more. Most firms have now got some sore of CIP and that, de facto therefore means a ‘restriction’ of one type or another! Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not blaming firms for doing this – as its all about ‘risks’; but the days of fund picking IFA’s masquerading as Investment Managers are long gone and those people who are still doing this, well their days are VERY shortly numbered…

  8. Independence may be “pure” vs. “impure” restricted advice, but the fact remains that independent advice is not always best advice, just as restricted advice can do the job. I think we all appreciate what Carl’s detractors are saying, but there is an element of religious zeal creeping in. Some of the comments imply that he has thrown his principles and staff under the bus, which I think is over the top.

    Carl has built a successful business and has gainfully employed tens of people from Norwich and Norfolk. If he chooses to step back after all these years and successful track record, who are we to judge? If he believes he has done adequate due diligence on the various buyers and has opted for the right one for him and his clients, who is to say he has done wrong by them?

    I feel quite sure that those here who run their own businesses do so in markedly different ways and each will feel he is correct. How many of us would be prepared to lay bare our decisions, opinions etc in the press for all to comment on?

  9. Thank you one & all for your comments & for the record I would like to say that in order of priority the following were the key considerations. Number one was our clients because whether it’s now or at any point in the future I want to be able to look them in the eye & say that we did the best deal for you. Next key consideration were the employees of Almary Green with many of them having been with me for a very long time that both their employment & future careers were secure . Last but not least myself having made sure the first two points were covered off because I can assure that that an awful lot of consolidators for want of a better word just want to asset strip your business !! I would also like to say that what ever path you walk down we ALL need to work together to protect the industry we work in from deteriorating further due to the issues we are all aware of. I have also put further comments & thoughts in to my MM column which will be published next week. Regards
    Carl

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