Threesixty insists it will remain unbiased after being bought by Standard Life, saying it will be “business as usual” for advisers and clients.
Standard Life announced on Monday it had acquired the remaining 75 per cent stake in the IFA support services provider from its partners for an undisclosed sum.
The firm already held a 25 per cent stake in the business, which comprises threesixty Services, threesixty Support and threesixty IFA, since May 2007.
The remaining stake was shared among partners Laura Chuck, Russell Facer, David Ingram, Ross McArthur, David Bratessani, Phil Young and Martyn Weaver. All the partners will remain with the business, although Weaver will move into a consultancy role. Partners will report to Standard Life strategy director Stephen Ingledew.
Ingram says: “Our clients value independence pretty much above everything. If they suspected there was an element of bias coming in, they would just leave and Standard Life would not have a business. It is a pretty compelling guarantee.”
“We have a number of projects we feel are necessary to help our clients through retail distribution review and into the post-RDR world, which need some capital spending. Since we already had a close working relationship with Standard Life, it was a logical choice. It will be pretty much business as usual and the impact on clients should be almost non-existent, although we will be able to introduce new services more quickly.”
Threesixty has 575 IFA client firms responsible for 5,160 regulated financial advisers.
Standard Life says the move shows its “continuing belief and long-term commitment” to the IFA sector.
Chief executive David Nish says: “Threesixty has the skills and capabilities to support IFAs and with Standard Life’s backing will continue to play a leading role in the transformation of the IFA market.”
The insurer also has stakes in SimplyBiz, RSM Bentley Jennison, Tenet Group and 2Plan Wealth Management.
Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director and threesixty client Dennis Hall says he has never been approached by Standard Life when it held a 25 per cent stake in the firm and he does not expect to be now.
He says even though threesixty has investment panels, he has always to chosen to use his own independent panel.
He says: “This has never caused a problem with threesixty and why should it? I am directly authorised, after all. I take from them only the services and support material that I want – this is not a network but a support provider, and the moment it stops supporting me and wants a different type of relationship, I will take whatever action I need to at the time.”
Hall says regulatory demands are forcing service providers and networks to seek parent firms with deep pockets or to increase charges to members.
Paterson Financial Planning managing director Damien Paterson says: “This has got to have some effect on the independent status of threesixty, although, sometimes these things can have the opposite effect on advice choice. I would not be happy if I was a threesixty member, it will inevitably lead to confusion.”