With 16 firms acquired in the last two years, it’s clear that Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers (OMWPCA) is on the acquisition trail. We speak to Dominic Rose, Director at OMWPCA, about why so many businesses are choosing to sign on the dotted line with his firm.
OMWPCA is in an acquisitive mood. Having completed 16 deals over the last 24 months, the first question for Rose was what is on the cards for 2018. He replied: “Our plan is to continue to acquire the right business and we are in advanced discussions with a number that fit well with us.”
The backdrop is of course more firms thinking about their future in what is an increasingly complex regulatory environment. Rose again: “We have seen an increase in the number of firms looking at their options. MIFID II and GDPR are both causing business owners to think about realising capital value now as more and more time is taken away from the client facing work.”
OMWPCA, a key element within the Old Mutual Wealth group, currently enjoys in excess of £2bn of client assets under advice and operates from six offices situated throughout the UK. It is from this position of strength that Rose talks to potential acquisitions. When businesses ask themselves why they should join OMWPCA, Rose believes it’s their three-tier proposition that is attractive, offering:
- a strong client led service and truly market leading investment approach;
- security and certainly over realising value for the business built up;
- a national business, but one with a number of regional offices to provide local support to their clients.
Financial planning first
As to what makes OMWPCA stand out from the rest of the herd, Rose explained: “We put financial planning first and then provide a high level of on-going service. It is about relationships with our clients for the long term helping ensure prosperity for them and their families. Our clients have a dedicated client support individual who sits along-side their financial planner, whilst benefiting from being part of a larger group, in terms of technical expertise and financial security.”
Of course, not all firms will fit the OMWPCA. Rose’s team runs the slide rule over many opportunities, but what they look for are retiring adviser client books, where clients can be handed over on a face-to-face basis over an agreed transition period. They also in particular look for any businesses located near their Birmingham and Cheshire offices. And they will also consider firms close to their existing offices of London, Shipley, Newton Abbott and Carlisle. They operate in the affluent to high net work space, so private clients with in excess of £300,000 of investable assets.
But don’t expect OMWPCA to come knocking on your door tomorrow. Rose: “We don’t do cold calling. We get approached directly quite often as we have a proven ability to execute transactions and have a compelling client proposition. People trust us as we always deliver on our promises.
“What we do find is that firms looking to sell are in discussions with multiple parties. We tend to find that a ‘natural fit’ emerges during the course of conversations where it becomes clear who the most appropriate acquirer is.”
We finish by asking Rose what he would recommend that when it comes to selling, what are the priorities any firm should consider.
“The most important factor in any M&A process is, in our view, ensuring the best client outcome, i.e. how will the clients be served by the acquiring party. Do the client service and investment propositions fit? If the answer is no, then the parties should walk away rather than risk client detriment or loss.
“Secondly, security of payments. When selling, what is often a life’s work, it is vital to ensure that the Seller can trust the Buyer to make good on their financial commitments.
“Thirdly, firms selling should ensure they have good management information as this builds confidence and trust in the process and avoids delays.”
Rose left us with one final thought, pointing out that his firm has a keen eye on the future and has created a graduate trainee programme which will develop the next generation of financial planners. For OMWPCA, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the future of the industry.