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Independent Wealth Planners aiming to provide national scale to local IFAs


Independent Wealth Planners UK (IWP) is planning to launch a new national brand in 2020 with over GBP2 billion of client assets. Launch members will include a dozen independent financial advisory (IFA) firms giving IWP a presence across the country.

IWP is a long-term investor in the IFA sector, with a strategy of supporting organic growth in leading UK IFA firms. CEO David Inglesfield, says: “We have had huge interest in IWP; many IFA owners tell us that they are keen to secure their business’s future, and value the infrastructure support we bring.”

“As a long-term investor in the sector, we have a client-centric strategy and a strong belief in the skills and expertise of the staff whose firms we acquire. Our role is to support them and to provide the resources to allow them to grow.”  

IWP’s founding firms joined earlier this year. They include Alexander Grace, Kelsall Steele Investment Services, Murdoch Asset Management and Rixons Wealth Management, giving IWP a presence from Cornwall to Yorkshire. Another eight firms are already signed up and currently going through the acquisition process, giving IWP firms total projected total client assets of over GBP2 billion in Q1 2020.

In an environment where the ever-changing regulatory and technology landscape is putting more pressure on the UK IFA community, smaller independent firms are coming under increasing pressure. Firms are forced to dedicate scarce time and resources to maintaining compliance standards, keeping up with IT, and maintaining investment research, marketing, recruitment and other necessities.

IWP’s COO, Tony Spain, says: “Many firm owners tell us that they love their job insofar as it relates to advising clients; but they find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the managerial and administrative burdens of running a regulated firm. Our role is to provide national-quality support to help firms maintain the highest operating standards whilst giving them more time to focus on their clients.”

IWP provides market-leading operational and support services, including compliance, IT, investment research, marketing, recruitment and training, allowing IFAs to spend more time with clients. IWP acquires firms but leaves day to day management in the hands of local teams, who may also retain a participation in the ownership of the business. The firms retain their brands, whilst sharing an IWP master brand.

Inglesfield says: “We are here to build Britain’s best independent wealth planning business – but we’re not trying to build it from scratch; there’s no need, because it already exists, in the many excellent local firms around the country. What we do is give them the scale and support to flourish, and to come together as a national firm whilst retaining the local autonomy which makes them special.”

Neil Padget, CEO, Alexander Grace, says: “IWP gives us a level of practical support and governance which puts us in a really strong position to grow the business with confidence. Thanks to their scale, we are looking forward to securing significantly better pricing and results for our clients.”

Chris Birch, CEO of Murdoch, says: “We had explored a number of options to secure the long-term future of the business. Most of them we immediately rejected as they would have destroyed the unique and very successful features which our clients value. What we liked about IWP was that it offered us a way to maintain our autonomy whilst coming together with other like-minded firms to access national resources and expertise.”

Rixons Chairman Ivan Logan adds: “We’ve had lots of offers over the years, but we have never either needed or wanted to sell the business. The partnership with IWP gives us a unique way to retain significant ownership whilst accessing capital and resources to allow us to grow. Our aim is very simple; with IWP’s help we believe that we can become the leading IFA in the region, and work with other IWP firms around the country to share expertise and access the best resources for our clients.”

IWP is majority owned and controlled by its management team, which the firm sees as an advantage. Inglesfield says “Because we are not owned by an external investor, we can take a long term view, and I think that’s particularly important in the private client sector, as it’s an inherently long term business.”

IWP intends to establish a nationwide presence with about 50 offices, supported by extensive IT infrastructure. The business has secured substantial funding and is currently in active discussions with over 20 local IFA firms, in addition to the 12 already announced.

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