UK adviser Duke Street acquires wealth firm

UK adviser Duke Street has acquired a majority interest in UK Wealth Management (UKWM), the parent group for several well established wealth management and employee benefits firms, as a platform to lead consolidation in the fragmented sector.

UKWM, formerly Yorkshire Investment Group, is a company with £1.4bn of private capital under influence in addition to the corporate pension funds on which it advises. It provides specialist investment and tax planning advice to high net worth individuals and employee benefits advice to organisations and trustees. The company is well positioned to capitalise on significant changes in demographics, government reforms and the financial advice market.

Demand for high quality financial planning advice is increasing, owing in part to a growing number of retirees in the UK with funds to invest. This growth is driven, in the short term, by the post-War “baby boomer” generation; it is also underpinned in the longer term by a generally ageing UK population and increasingly complex pension rules.

With the acknowledged shortfall in private pension funds and the future changes to the state pension, retirees are seeking advisers experienced in maximising retirement income across all asset classes. This is exacerbated by poor returns on deposit accounts, resulting in this generation of retirees being squeezed between the need for security and the need for income.

The sector is undergoing a once-in-a-generation structural change, with regulatory pressure altering the way financial products and advice are distributed. New regulation under the UK’s Retail Distribution Review requires improved adviser qualifications, increased capital adequacy and the need to agree transparent fees with clients. Regulation tis esxpected to lead to contraction and consolidation in the sector.

UKWM’s growth plans will extend its footprint in terms of propositions, distribution and geography. The group expects a substantial increase in its employee benefits business, partly resulting from NEST and government plans for auto-enrolment into pension schemes. The firm will shortly hire an actuarial team.

Reflective of the wide range of services offered by the group, investment strategies are managed by UK Portfolio Management (UKPM) the discretionary investment specialists, and new client investment solutions have recently been launched. The management team is led by chief executive Lynn Coleman, who has 27 years’ experience in the insurance and savings industry.

The acquisition of UKWM was originated and executed for Duke Street by partner Miles Cresswell-Turner and investment director Kate Mullord.

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