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Wealth Manager: Bestinvest's plans to reap RDR restructuring gains

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by James Phillipps on Apr 18, 2013 at 09:29

The retail distribution review (RDR) passed with barely a murmur at Bestinvest and Tim Stalkartt, the group’s joint managing director of wealth management, believes the true impact on the industry will only really start to be felt in the months to come.

‘We anticipate that around the middle of the year, a lot of good people will start looking round as a number of firms will face cashflow problems,’ he says.

‘This will be one of the key changes in the industry as lots of firms will struggle as they adapt to fees.’

He says the RDR has had minimal impact on his firm because its financial planning business has always been fee-based and its investment management arm already rebated trail.

Similarly, Bestinvest has long been ahead of the game on the qualifications front, with its financial planners having been level six or higher ‘for many a year’.

But as others struggle, Stalkartt believes it will throw up significant opportunities for the firm as it aims to achieve an ambitious growth target of doubling its £5 billion of assets in three years, as chief executive Peter Hall outlined in Wealth Manager earlier this month.

Hall said the firm will look to make two ‘major acquisitions’ in the next calendar year in a move that will increase both assets and economies of scale, which he said will become ever more important as regulatory costs continue to spiral.

‘We’ve had a really good track record with our previous acquisitions,’ Stalkartt says. ‘When I joined in 2007, we were reaping the benefits of having bought SMA, a high quality London-based IFA headed by Peter Howland.’

That deal, back in December 2004, saw Bestinvest snap up SMA’s £2 billion of client assets, which were generating profits of more than £3 million at the time, along with its 43 registered advisers.

But its second major acquisition, the purchase in 2010 of Haines Watts Financial Services (HWFS) – the financial advisory arm of chartered accountant Haines Watts – was arguably the most defining move. It transformed Bestinvest into a national wealth manager.

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