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US firm Focus starts IFA buys

US wealth management firm Focus Financial Partners has bought Manchester IFA firm Greystone Financial Services, kicking off its aggressive acquisition strategy.

The deal is expected to complete in April and will see FFP take on around 5,000 high-net-worth clients and £820m of assets. It is Focus’s first acquisition outside America. It says it now intends to acquire smal-ler IFA firms through the Greystone brand, which will be retained.

FFP is also on the lookout for other businesses of a similar size to Greystone to be acquired separately.

Greystone, which launched in 1989, has offices in Manchester and London. It set up a wealth management service in 2002 which now has £240m of assets under management.

Greystone chief executive Paul Heap says this is largely due to its early adoption of Transact and by launching its range of five funds of funds in December 2005.

Focus considers the appeal of Greystone is it has a “deep and broad” approach to independent financial advice.

FFP chief executive Rudy Adolf says: “We invest in entrepreneurs. We have a tight set of criteria which we are looking for and we felt Greystone were market leaders. Their model of independent wealth management and deep and strong investment expertise gives them a broad base from which to start. This is the model of the future.”

Heap says: “We are open to customer-agreed remuneration and recognised early on the value of trail commission and trail fees – it is about building up recurring income streams, which we have done primarily through being early adopters of the wrap account.”

Greystone’s turnover is £7.5m with an annual profit of around £400,000. It has 20 registered individuals.

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