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Woolwich hotly tipped as Sedgwick buyer


Woolwich is being hotly tipped to become the new owner of Sedgwick Financial Services.


SFS is expected to reveal the identity of the successful bidder by the end of the month, five months after being put up for sale by owner William M Mercer.


Industry insiders tip Woolwich to take-over the IFA arm which has 170 RIs in a deal worth about £18m.


Woolwich Independent Advisory Services is looking to expand the business which currently has 200 RIs. WIFAS brought in £24.6m worth of business during the first half of this year.


Analysts also say bank&#39s mortgage lending has come under pressure from new entrants to the mortgage market such as Egg and Standard Life Bank.


SFS employees had been expecting to learn of their fate at the beginning of September but insiders say confidentiality agreements were extended a month.


Speculation about potential bidders included national IFAs Towry Law and Willis National, who have since ruled themselves out of the running.


Last year SFS had a turnover of £20m. Director & head of operations Tim Morgan left the company last month to pursue other interests.


Insurance merger & acquisition consultant Oliver Laughton-Scott says: &#34Woolwich makes sense because it has been looking to expand its IFA arm. It has a small range of products and expanding the IFA area is one way to develop the business further.&#34


Woolwich and SFS were unavailable for comment.

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