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Towry Law is taken over by John Scott

Surprise 37m deal sees shift from organic strategy

John Scott & Partners has bought national IFA Towry Law in a shock move for 37m.

All Towry Law staff, except for managing director John Simmonds, will transfer with the business upon completion of the deal, which is expected to go through by March.

JS&P executive chairman and chief executive Andrew Fisher will lead the combined firm, which will trade as Towry Law. He will also be acting managing director until the management structure is finalised. Fisher says the John Scott & Partners name will be retained as a sub-brand, largely for long-standing clients serviced by its wealth management team.

The deal, effectively a reverse takeover, will almost quadruple JS&P’s total of RIs from 61 to over 220. The acquisition surprised many in the industry because it is seen as a break from JS&P’s traditional strat- egy of building funds under management through org- anic growth. The firm’s backer, Palamon, says the deal will supplement that strategy.

The deal is particularly surprising as Towry Law has been the subject of heated controversy in recent years. It was bought by AMP for 75.7m in 2001 and provoked widespread anger from IFAs by dumping the lion’s share of a 48m pension misselling liability on the Investors’ Compensation Scheme shortly after the AMP deal. This stemmed from liabilities inherited after a string of poor acquisitions which led to the group recording a 73m loss before AMP swooped.

Simmonds is widely cred- ited with steering the firm back into the black. Towry subsequently became part of the HHG Group, along with Henderson, Pearl and NPI, after AMP left the UK market in 2003. Henderson will retain control of Towry Law Inter-national, which is no longer trading.

Fisher says: “We are looking forward to fully integrating the businesses, continuing with JS&P’s fee-earning strategy and delivering its holistic wealth management services.”

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