Waverton becomes ‘real’ wealth manager with IFA purchase

Acquisition driven by client demand for more than just investment management

Tim Whiting, CEO, Timothy James and Partners


Waverton Investment Management’s acquisition of a London-based financial planning firm has moved it into the realms of “real” wealth management.

The discretionary investment manager announced on Tuesday it had bought Timothy James and Partners, an adviser firm based in Tottenham Court Road in London.

A press release said the two firms are “merging their expertise” by bringing together their respective investment management and financial planning businesses. As part or this, Waverton has helped Timothy James and Partners design a set of bespoke investment portfolios for its clients.

Waverton director and head of business development Stephen Browne told Portfolio Adviser the deal had been driven by demand from Waverton’s clients for a wider range of financial planning services and a need to remain competitive.

He said: “From our end of the acquisition it has been led by our own clients and prospective clients who said, ‘We love what you do on the discretionary investment management side, but can you also give us some advice on pensions or life insurance?’.

“We don’t want to lose those clients to other firms that do both and there are quite a lot of investment management companies that now offer a much wider range of services. A lot of our competition who we pitch against do that.”

Moving into ‘real’ wealth management

GBI2 managing director Graham Bentley said offering a full-service proposition, including investment management and financial planning, is “real wealth management”.

He said: “Running a few bob for clients on a platform is fine, but if I was ‘wealthy’, I’d expect both investment management expertise and associated financial planning from the same provider.

“Most family offices combine asset management and financial planning, exercising complete and coordinated control of the family’s finances. That’s real wealth management.”

Bentley noted the relationship between IFA Ascot Lloyd and its asset management business Avellemy as an example of this.

An end to organic growth

The deal represents only the second acquisition for Waverton whose website states it has traditionally sought to grow “organically”.

The only other acquisition the firm made was in 2016 when it bought Europe and Southeast Asia equity specialist 2CG Senhouse for £1m in cash. However, a year later it took a £340,000 hit after the purchase value was written down by more than a third.

Browne described the Timothy James and Partners acquisition as “obviously a bigger deal” than the “small acquisition” of 2CG Senhouse.

He added: “I’m not going to comment on facts and figures in terms of valuations, but we spent some time looking for the right opportunity and then this one came along. In particular, Tim Whiting is a very engaging, professional CEO and his team is very entrepreneurial, so that’s exciting for a company like ours.”

Timothy James to retain brand 

Timothy James and Partners has £950m assets under advice which will be added to Waverton’s £6.2bn of assets under management, as at 30 September 2019.

Timothy James and Partners will retain its own brand and identity and continue to operate from its West End offices as an IFA as part of the Waverton group.

Founder and managing director Tim Whiting (pictured) said: “We believe there are great, complementary synergies between our two businesses, and we look forward to capitalising on the opportunities this deal creates.”

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