Grant Thornton sells wealth advisory arm to specialist

Grant Thornton has shed its wealth advisory unit which has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by 1825, Standard Life’s wholly owned financial planning and advice business, as the firm seeks to concentrate on core tax and accounting activities

Led by Neil Messenger, Grant Thornton’s wealth advisory team of over 100 employees provides advice on all aspects of financial planning including family and business finance. As well as the UK-wide financial planning team including 34 financial planners, it has two client support centres in Belfast and Sheffield.

Dave Dunckley, CEO of Grant Thornton UK, said: ‘As we increase our focus on our strategy to provide high quality audit, tax and advisory services to our core markets, it is clear the wealth advisory team’s growth potential would be best delivered by a business focused solely on the financial advice market.

‘The team’s clients will undoubtedly be better served through 1825’s approach and proposition, with the businesses sharing a natural alignment in values and goals, so it makes practical sense for the team to be in an environment in which it can flourish. We wish Neil and the team continued success into the future.’

The move is 1825’s eight and largest acquisition since its inception four years ago, the most recent being BDO Northern Ireland’s wealth management arm earlier this year. Assets under advice now total £5.8bn, up £1.7bn, an increase of some 40%.

Julie Scott, 1825’s CEO, said: ‘Today’s announcement significantly accelerates 1825’s growth plans and gives us a broader UK-wide presence. Demand for high quality financial planning and advice continues to grow and with over 110 financial planners we will be well-placed to help more people access advice.

‘I was delighted when Grant Thornton approached us with the idea. We are very much aligned with our shared desire to offer the best quality advice to our clients. We are excited about the future and look forward to welcoming the team to 1825.’

The deal is expected to complete in Q4, 2019. The commercial terms of the transaction remain undisclosed.

By Pat Sweet

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