How much autonomy will post RDR consolidators give their constituent firms?

The North West based IFA consolidator Perspective Financial is reported to have put itself up for sale. A report in the Manchester Evening News suggests the business is looking for a princely sum of £60m to £80m and has brought in KPMG to help with the sale though the first round of bids closed last week.

It’s probably not too late to make an offer. Assets under management are £2.5bn including five wealth management businesses bought this year hence the relatively high asking price.  The total purchases are more than thirty since the firm set up. That’s a lot of consolidation.

The Money Debate wonders whether those businesses that bought into the Perspective concept – as it bought into them – would have expected a sale so soon. But that is business after all.

However, many of the testimonial messages from the  IFA businesses that were taken over, talk about the fact that central firm has given them a great deal of autonomy. Well they were certainly still saying so on its website yesterday. We quote a couple of the individual firms’ bosses below.

“Of the offers we had, the Perspective Financial Group offer wasn’t the largest. But accepting the largest offer would have meant accepting the acquirer ‘imposing their ways’ and that would not have been right for the business or our advisers.

“The Perspective ethos of autonomy enables us to continue running the business as we always have whilst benefiting from the flexibility and security of being part of a nationwide organisation.”

Ian Wilkinson, managing director, Rutherford Wilkinson

And this:

“Perspective wanted to buy our business because we ran it well. We were attracted to them because they wanted to leave us to do that. They were the one company that didn’t want to buy us and change what we do. This also protects our clients by letting us control what happens to them.”

Ian Blackburn, managing director, Platinum Portfolios

One relevant question might be is whether this is what other consolidators will want to hear? Then again, you can probably cut out a lot of costs and bring a lot of efficiency savings to a big range of divergent businesses. The losses certainly weren’t too high given Perspective’s size. Yet I wonder how much autonomy this new generation of post RDR consolidators will want to give? Whatever its strategy a buyer will need to bring these constituent firms with them.

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