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20 events which changed the face of UK wealth management in 2012

A historic brand disappeared, regulation forced the closure of business units and significant merger and acquisition activity took place in another momentous year for the wealth management industry.

Charles Stanley targets disillusioned clients with platform launch

In January Charles Stanley teamed up with product aggregator All My Plan for a platform launch targeting clients who have become disillusioned with their adviser.

The partnership with All My Plans enabled Charles Stanley platform clients to access all their financial plans and products, including their mortgage, insurance policies and bank accounts, in one place online.

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Morgan Stanley sells Quilter to Bridgepoint

In January Quilter-owner Morgan Stanley Smith Barney agreed to sell the business to private equity firm Bridgepoint, in partnership with the Quilter management team. The terms of the transaction, planned to be completed in the first quarter of 2012, were not disclosed although reports suggest it was around the £170 million mark.

The Quilter management team behind the deal includes chief executive Martin Baines, managing director and former Wealth Manager cover star Stephen Vakil and chief financial officer Terry Wade.

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Raymond James wins high court battle against Towry

National IFA Towry lost its High Court battle against rival wealth management firm Raymond James and seven former Edward Jones advisers it alleged solicited clients.

The Honourable Mrs Justice Cox DBE ruled against Towry finding that the seven ex-Edward Jones advisers, Barry Bennett, Pieter Burger, James Chandler, Wayne Hayhurst, Thomas Spain, Stuart Hutton, and Tracey Simpson had not solicited clients.

The case kicked off in June last year. Towry argued that the advisers ‘joined RJ [Raymond James], as self-employed advisers, and within a short period of time, nearly 400 clients came to transfer their investments, worth over £33 million, and their investment business from [Towry] to RJ.’

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Pritchards Stockbrokers falls into administration

In March the FSA confirmed Pritchard Stockbrokers has today entered the Special Administration Regime (SAR).

The new came after the FSA issued a First Supervisory Notice to Pritchard, which prevented the firm from undertaking any further regulated activities.

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WH Ireland acquires 8,000 clients from troubled Pritchard

In February WH Ireland acquired an 8,000-strong private client book from fallen Pritchard Stockbrokers.

The wealth manager paid £500,000 for the book, which was valued at around £400 million based on the non-cash assets under management relating to the 8,000 clients.

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Liontrust acquires Walker Crips AM

In March Liontrust Asset Management announced the acquisition of Walker Crips Asset Managers, paying around £12 million for the firm and taking over two of its best-known fund managers Stephen Bailey and Jan Luthman.

The move allowed Walker Crips to focus on growing its wealth management division

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Old Mutual merges Omam and SIG

In April Old Mutual combined its two asset management businesses, Old Mutual Asset Managers UK (Omam) and Skandia Investment Group SIG, into a single business.

Old Mutual said the unified business will give the firm a significant asset management presence in the UK, from which it can drive future growth. The Skandia brand was subsquently dumped with the new entity taking on the name Old Mutual Wealth led by chief executive Paul Feeney.

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Williams de Broë brand officially dropped

In April it was announced that one of the best known brands in wealth management, Williams de Broë would disappear following the firm's acquisition by Investec.

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Rathbone buys London-based wealth manager

In April Rathbone Brothers' subsidiary, Rathbone Investment Management headed by Andy Pomfret (pictured), completed the acquisition of London-based wealth manager RM Walkden & Co.

RM Walkden, which is based at Charterhouse Square, had gross assets totalling £948,494.

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Lloyds private bank merges ultra and HNW units

In May Lloyds TSB Private Banking opted to streamline its high and ultra-high net worth private client divisions by merging the two departments into a single unit.

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Coutts cuts 20% of front office in RDR restructure

In May it emerged up to 20% of Coutts’ front line staff were facing redundancy, following the bank’s decision to place a greater emphasis on wealth management in the run-up to the retail distribution review (RDR).

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Adam & Co to shut down international operation

In June RBS-owned Adam & Co said it would close its international operation, as it sought to drive efficiencies and bring the Scottish bank closer in line with Coutts.

The private bank is to shut up shop in Guernsey, Adam’s offshore banking and investment centre, within the next 18 months. Staff were offered other jobs in the group, or redundancy.

The firm’s third party investment managers who outsource custody and administration to Adam & Company will have their international clients transferred over to Coutts’ Swiss office.

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Brooks readies for RDR with £4.4m acquisition

In July Brooks Macdonald Marked news of 17% profit rise with news of a fresh acquisition. The firm, led by Chris Macdonald (pictured), bought Park Street London Limited, a long-term introducer of funds and clients, in July for a total cash consideration of £4.4m.

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Smith & Williamson overhauls structure to incentivise key staff

In October Smith & Williamson has underwent a major overhaul that will see the business structured as two LLPs within the holding company.

The first LLP is in place and the directors of Smith & Williamson’s tax and business arm were offered the opportunity to become partners in the new divisional LLP.

Smith & Williamson chairman Gareth Pearce said ‘the overwhelming majority did so’ adding that regulatory approval is currently being sought for the second LLP, for its investment management and banking division. He said he hoped this would be operational in 2013.

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Rathbone strikes deal to buy financial planning firm

In October Rathbone Brothers made another market move, acquiring a 19.9% stake in Cornish-based Vision Independent Financial Planning and its sister company, Castle Investment Solutions with the view to taking complete control of the duo in 2015.

The private client stockbroker forked out £2 million for the stake, which been purchased from the founders of Vision and Castle, Roger Edwards and Paul Sweaton respectively.

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Quilter buys Cheviot AM

In October Quilter, headed by chief executive Martin Baines (pictured), confirmed it was talks to buy Cheviot Asset Management.

The merger was facilitated by Bridgepoint, which invested in Quilter earlier in the year. The deal was eventually sealed for a rumoured £100 million with Quilter securing the services of a number of key Cheviot staff including its chief executive Michael Kerr-Dineen

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Rathbones grows offshore presence with AIB Jersey acquisitions

In October Rathbone Investment Management's Channel Islands business grews its offshore presence with the acquisition of the investment management business of AIB Jersey.

The deal had the potential to increase the firm's assets under management rise by £43 million, lifting its total number of private clients to almost 800. As part of the acquisition, Alan Martin, who has worked at AIB for 25 years, joined Rathbones.

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Regulation forces Brewin to shut advisory dealing service

In November Brewin Dolphin, led by Jamie Matheson (pictured), said it would be closing its advisory dealing service in a move driven by regulation. The firm is planning to withdraw the service in January.

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Brooks Macdonald acquires Spearpoint

In November Brooks Macdonald, led by Chris Macdonald (pictured) acquired Spearpoint, a Jersey and Guernsey-based provider of discretionary fund management amd manager of the Arch Cru funds.

The acquisition saw Brooks take on the fund manager, which also has stockbroking and retirement planning capabilities.

Announcing the deal to the stock exchange, Brooks, which is listed on the alternative investment market (AIM), said Spearpoint is considered a leader in integrated wealth management in the Channel Islands and has funds and assets under management of approximately £1.1 billion.

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Rathbones acquires Taylor Young IM's wealth business

Predatory Rathbone Brothers was at it again in November, acquiring Taylor Young Investment Management’s (TYIM) private client business for an initial fee of £2.6 million. The group also said it was looking to raise millions more through a placing of two million shares to fund further acquisitions.

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