Consolidator Succession says it would be open to dividing the group and selling it as three separate firms when it comes to selling the business.
The umbrella Succession brand houses three divisions: a corporate benefits arm; financial planning business Succession Wealth Management, targeted at clients with more than £100,000 in investable assets; and Succession Financial Management, which advises primarily on protection and annuities.
Speaking at a press briefing in London last week, Succession chief executive Simon Chamberlain said: “What you don’t want to be doing is going into the marketplace to sell and one of the potential buyers comes along and says ‘I love those assets but what is that critical-illness bit on the side or that mortgage bit over there?’
“Succession is structured to prevent contagion of our funds by transactional products.
”The clients see it as divisions but they are three different legal entities, which means they could be sold together or separately.
“So we could sell Succession Wealth Management to a fund management group, Succession Financial Management to an insurance company and Succession Benefit Solutions to a consulting company. It keeps the assets clean and the capital value high. Most people make that decision too late and try to sell everything to anybody.
“They get to a point of looking at a capitalisation and when they come to sell they get the shock of their lives because they cannot help accumulating liability and there is a big contagion in their asset base.”
Last week, the firm announced the acquisition of Hart Financial in a deal worth £3m. It was Succession’s tenth acquisition to date.
Succession operates an acquisition strategy that sees advice firms join as members with a view to full acquisition after they have adopted Succession’s systems and processes.
Acquisitions include a cash sum and an equity stake in Succession.
The firm hopes to make 50 acquisitions by the end of 2017 with a view to either selling or floating the business in 2018.
Succession received backing from private equity firm Inflexion in January when it took a 50.1 per cent stake in the consolidator.
Senior management, advisers and original backer Spearpoint own the remaining shares in the company.
Paul Lothian, co-director, Verus Wealth
Anybody looking to sell to an acquirer must go into it with their eyes open. What Succession proposes makes sense but acquired firms and their advisers must be comfortable with it.
Jason Levett, director, Stiddard
Consolidators often take independent firms and turn them into restricted ones, which skews the market. But from a business point of view it may make sense to split up Succession along the three regulatory and compliance lines – if the individual parts are greater than the sum of the parts.