Tony Wickenden: SJP deal won’t damage our integrity

Tony Wickenden

Technical Connection joint managing director Tony Wickenden has vowed the acquisition by St James’s Place will not challenge the technical support firm’s integrity.

Money Marketing revealed SJP’s deal to buy Technical Connection for an undisclosed sum earlier this morning.

Speaking to Money Marketing and setting out the rationale behind the deal, Wickenden says: “It was a combination of us looking at what the next stage was to be in our growth strategy together with a key client coming to us and getting that conversation going.

“And the more the conversation got going, the more it seemed to make sense to us and to them to do this.”

He adds: “It was certainly not a defensive move from our standpoint, but it was one of those things that evolved from a conversation that presented an opportunity to do it quicker.

“And with a partner of the strength of SJP and 3,500 partners to serve as well as the market that we’re already in, we’ve got a fantastic outcome for both parties.”

The terms of the deal will allow Technical Connection to continue to deliver a full range of services to its existing adviser clients.

He says while SJP wil be owning a brand which provides technical expertise to other rival advice firms, he describes the relationship of SJP with the wider marketplace as one of “soft rivalry”.

Wickenden says: “Not soft in the sense that they’re not good rivals, but it’s not such a harsh rivalry.

“There are many clients to go around, and from our standpoint, if you’re looking at providing the best of technical support, that comes from a business that is in the market as well as just facing inwards.

“There’s no sharing of secrets, or some kind of plot to get information that you couldn’t get otherwise. It’s just a commitment that SJP want to work with the best in providing technical support, and that is best served by continuing to allow us to be independent.

“The fact that SJP’s ownership is there is not going to change that. There is a complete commitment to retaining independence of thought and market exposure to what is going on.

“That’s important for the development of intellectual capital, and you can’t do it without that.”

He adds: “We can’t cater for what people feel emotionally, all we can say is that we have an absolute strength of commitment to continuing to support our adviser clients and SJP absolutely support that.”

Wickenden and fellow joint managing director John Wooley will remain with the business following the transaction, and Wickenden stresses the pair are not seeking to sell their business and move on.

He says: “We’re definitely not going to go and do our own thing.

“People might think that, but you will see that will not be the case over the next few years.

“We enjoy what we do. We love what we do. We are not leaving.”