Sanlam UK boss continues buying spree with Thesis deal

‘Move is clearly designed to help push Sanlam towards the big, established players’


Sanlam UK is looking towards ‘big, established players’ in the wealth management space as the acquisition of Thesis Asset Management becomes its third deal this year.

The purchase of the £1.2bn South of England firm takes its private client discretionary assets under management (AUM) to £4.2bn.

In January this year, Sanlam acquired Preston based wealth manager, Astute Wealth Management, in a move which it said would deepen its presence in the North West. Earlier this month, it also acquired independent financial planning and employee benefits firm Blackett Walker Limited, based in Newcastle.

Sanlam declined to comment the total AUM it had accumulated via the deals this year.

Sanlam lands 30 investment professionals

Ryan Hughes, head of active portfolios at AJ Bell, said retaining employees will be essential. “The move is clearly designed to help push Sanlam towards the big, established players in the space but as ever, integration will be key.

“Retention of the staff will be critical to its success, particularly as wealth managers seem to be moving with increasing frequency in the last 18 months.”

It takes on a team of 30 investment professionals and support colleagues.

Jonathan Polin (pictured), chief executive at Sanlam, told Portfolio Adviser the firm is planning to retain all of the staff “with no duplication of roles or shedding of jobs”.

Polin said: “It was clear from the outset of our discussions with the Thesis management team that we were fully aligned in terms of investment philosophy, culture and an unwavering commitment to client service.

Acquisition spree under Polin

Sanlam has been on an acquisition spree under Polin, according to Adrian Lowcock, head of personal investing at Willis Owen.

“Since Polin became CEO he has set out a plan for Sanlam to become a leading wealth manager in the UK and has made a number of acquisitions to support this ambition.”

Thesis has offices in Guildford, Lymington, Chichester and Brighton and will become part of Sanlam’s regional wealth management network. As part of the deal, Sanlam will acquire Thesis’ private client business, distribution network, direct support teams and Pallant, its financial planning business. Thesis will operate under the Sanlam UK brand, following regulatory approval.

In a press release announcing the deal, Polin said the company had “high ambitions to make Sanlam a leader in client-centric wealth management” and the Thesis acquisition was an important milestone.

Lowcock said: “Of course, a few departures are inevitable and are always factored into any such acquisition. Other risks are markets, the price paid will be linked to AUM and that falls if markets fall, but you could wait forever if you worried about market volatility.”

Brewin Dolphin expands in Bath

Elsewhere, Brewin Dolphin announced today that it has acquired the assets of an IFA firm based in Bath, Epoch Wealth Management, as part of its growth strategy. After the deal completes, managing partner, Barry Newbury and his 37 colleagues from the financial planning firm will transfer to Brewin Dolphin along with their clients.

The Queen Square Place office will become Brewin Dolphin’s office in Bath increasing its UK footprint to 31 offices.

Lowcock said: “Consolidation in the wealth management space has been ongoing for the last five or six years and building national champions is the goal of many of them, with the likes of St James’s Place and Brewin leading and Tilney having joined that list through acquisitions. It is becoming a very competitive market.”

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