Morgan Stanley Smith Barney sells Quilter

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney has agreed to sell Quilter, a UK-based asset manager with £7.6bn AUM, to private equity firm Bridgepoint, in partnership with the Quilter management team.

Michael Black, partner at Bridgepoint said: “Quilter is a long-established and highly regarded UK private client wealth management business operating in a large but fragmented market favoured by underlying structural growth drivers. As such, we believe that there is every opportunity for Quilter to accelerate its growth organically, as well as make complementary acquisitions for the business.

Bridgepoint is a European private equity firm focusing on the acquisition of companies valued up to €1 billion, with some €11 billion of capital raised to date. The terms of the Quilter transaction, planned to complete in the first quarter of 2012, were not disclosed. 

The UK wealth management market includes investable assets of £1trn, of which £400 billion relates to the discretionary wealth management market targeted by Quilter, says Bridgepoint. “This part of the market remains under-penetrated and is forecast to grow further favoured by factors such as the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions, increasing personal savings and investment and the shift by the IFA market to outsourced investment management.”

Martin Baines, chief executive of Quilter says: “This is an extremely exciting move for us, not least because Bridgepoint is very enthusiastic about our management team and our strategy for the firm.  It is a tried and tested team that has been in place for many years in spite of changes of ownership.”

“Under Bridgepoint ownership, Quilter will not only continue to do what it has always done best, provide highly personal investment management services to advisers and individuals, but also grow and extend what it can offer its clients.”

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