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Standard Life lines up advice firm acquisitions

1825 past acquisitions are Pearson Jones, Baigrie Davis, Jones Sheridan and Munro Partnership

Standard Life’s restricted advice business 1825 is in talks with a number of firms and expects to announce further acquisitions in the second half of the year.

In its first half results statement released today, Standard Life said 1825 now has 73 financial advisers, with more than 8,600 clients and assets under advice of £3.4bn.

The business did not acquire any businesses in the first half of the year.

1825 launched in 2015 with the acquisition of Pearson Jones. It also acquired Baigrie Davis, Jones Sheridan and Munro Partnership. A deal with Norwich adviser Almary Green fell through last year.

Standard Life pensions and savings chief executive Barry O’Dwyer says 1825 is a “core” part of Standard Life.

He says: “We do have a number of firms we are speaking to at the moment, it is hard to call some of these things, but I would expect we will make some acquisitions in H2. We are continuing to deliver the 1825 plan but we still have some work to do to build it out to where we want it to be as a nationwide financial planning business.”

Standard Life’s 1825 scales back acquisitions focus

According to the results statement, UK operating expenses increased by £34m to £272m. The acquisition of Axa’s Elevate platform and growth of 1825 increased operating expenses by £29m.

Standard Life could not disclose a breakdown of how much of the £29m figure was attributable to each business.

However, O’Dwyer says: “We have said 1825 will break even by the end of the year and we are still on track to do that. We will turn Elevate from a business that was losing £20m to a profitable business by 2019. We have reiterated that we are on track for both of those metrics.”

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