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Standard Life’s 1825 scales back acquisitions focus

1825 chief executive Steve Murray

Standard Life-owned national 1825 is moving its focus away from acquisitions as it looks to grow adviser numbers at existing firms, Money Marketing understands.

Standard Life first announced it would re-enter financial advice with the restricted 1825 brand in February 2015. It acquired Leeds-based advice firm Pearson Jones, and said it planned to expand the business through buying out other firms to act as “regional hubs”.

1825 has since completed acquisitions in London, Cheshire and Scotland, but pulled out of a deal to buy Almary Green in September, meaning there are still several regions without 1825 firms.

A source with knowledge of 1825 says headcount dedicated to acquisitions had fallen from around 10 to as low as two at one stage.

The source says: “1825 have completely changed their focus and are trying to grow their business organically. They will make acquisitions, just when opportunities present that are an easy fit.

“They’re still in the market, but aren’t going to rush into anything. It’s only going to be if it’s absolutely right for them.”

Another source close to the firm says Standard Life only had one full-time staff member out in the market looking at the corporate finance side of 1825 acquisitions, and that 1825 were looking to scale back other staff, “not just on the acquisitions side”.

They say: “Fundamentally they just struggled to get the right number of people. The strategy is still to go out and buy firms if they can find them, but frankly, they are running out of firms to go and buy.

“They are busy trying to desperately recruit to fill the advisers [that have left]. It’s not so much a change of strategy, but a tactical thing they are having to do.”

The source added while Standard Life may be holding informal talks with more firms, none were currently in the due diligence stage.

An 1825 spokeswoman says: “Our strategy has always looked at growth across a variety of areas – acquisition where we continue to see a very strong pipeline, recruitment where we have recently launched a national campaign and bringing additional talent through our academy.

“Acquisitions remain an important part of our potential growth – we continue to have a fully resourced commercial team to support this activity which we can also scale up further depending on pipeline opportunities.”

The spokeswoman says headcount had fluctuated like any other company, but was never as low as sources suggested.

She says: “When we first set up 1825, our commercial and finance team had 10 people at head office level – the headcount stands at nine people today following a recent internal promotion from the team.”

1825’s careers website currently lists vacancies for paraplanners in seven locations, financial planners in four, private client mangers in two, and a senior private client consultant in one of two regions.

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Comments

There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Kind of highlights, the real problem of the aquistions debate, verses organic growth.

    I have never understood, why you would buy a house, knock it down and rebuild it to your own spec ?

  2. If it’s true they have 10 in the team, how have they only done 4 deals in 2 years

    If it takes a team of 10 half a year to buy an advice firm no wonder they are losing money…

  3. Reverse Ferret!

  4. Integral to a firm’s value is its client relationships. This means looking after all stakeholders not just the shareholders interests. Failure to recognise this means acquisitions are ultimately doomed to failure. No clients means no business…………simples!

  5. Duncan Jones- you are exactly right! No clients means no business. Seems that 1825 has no clients given it can’t buy them

  6. “I have never understood, why you would buy a house, knock it down and rebuild it to your own spec ?”

    Because you like the location and the plot of land, if you will!

    Or the geographic location of a hub and the assets under management/demographic of the client bank in advice terms?

    If you proposition is fundamentally good – organic should still be possible, although take a little longer.

  7. “Standard Life scales back 1825 “, des that mean it will be Standard Life 1810 – the overture of the Big Bang sound , or as we call it Going ! Going ! Gong ! What will happen to all those Tied Agents and restricted advisers . . .through Tenet Connect etc., ? Where will they scale down to ? unless Sub Standard Life is employing their 80 /”0 strategy where they get 80 % of of their business form 20% of their Tied Agents – which means “working their client bank ” by segregation separation and stupidity for short term commissions or percentage fees. How Is this “Treating Customers Fairly ? ” or at all ! or acting with integrity or professionalism – or care or commitment to clients. Perhaps they will sell of this “larger financial institution to one of the American Outlets – during our American Invasion ? Given this notice, and the level of aware ness at the FCA – the Government “Regulator” ( or Government s Business Tax Raising institution and restricted trade practices ! How can they let this happen ? How can anyone have confidence in these confidence tricksters ? Putting the CON in the CONservative Party .
    Where is Nicola Sturgeon when needed – she is voting out ” again ” will standard life ask the removal men to move south of the Rio Tweed again ? or foraging into England ? It really is quite simple like banks previously and estate agents – they are dysfunctional and desperate and do not have a sustainable business. So like the Americans what they cant buy ( the Americans Shooot) and the Scottish houses disrupt and undermine Gvernment and FCA Rules and buy each other up into an ever smaller circle – leaving clients and customers distraught – deprived of their finances – after the editor of the Evening Sub Standard, George Osbornes Tax Grab at pension funds – and his removal of and return of tax incentives already paid as a reward for saving to HMRC – now reversed.The tax raised to pay for Blairs War sponsored I believe by the Americans – what they cant buy they . . . . . . .?

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