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Adviser business and technology updates Including Harwood Wealth AIM listing, Prestwood Software and 7IM, EQ Investors, Defaqto report

Harwood Wealth seeks listing on AIM

Harwood Wealth, founded in 2001 under the name Compass Wealth Management, has announced its intention to launch an IPO and placing and to apply for admission of ordinary shares to trade on AIM.

Now run by joint chief executives, Alan Durrant and Neil Dunkley, Harwood focuses on the mass affluent market (namely individuals with £200,000 to £500,000 of liquid financial assets or net assets) providing advice and investment management services via Wellian Investment Solutions. The group has 80 financial advisers and seven investment professionals and assets under influence (AUI) in excess of £1.25 billion.

The Group has grown primarily through acquisition, completing 37 acquisitions to the end of October 2015 mainly as business and asset purchases, and a further 13 (including those that have exchanged but not yet completed) from 1 November 2015 to date. It has also entered into non-binding heads of terms to acquire a further two businesses following the proposed admission to AIM.

Alan Durrant, joint chief executive, says the group intends to continue with this strategy of acquisition. “Following the Retail Distribution Review the industry is undergoing significant structural change. Many financial advisory firms have strong client books but unworkable, fragmented models, rising regulatory costs and a need to outsource certain functions or to be acquired. All these factors create a significant opportunity for Harwood Wealth’s acquisitive growth strategy and the vertically integrated model.”

N+1 Singer is the broker and nominated adviser and has fundraised £13.5m, £10m of which is new equity principally intended to enable the group to make further acquisitions.

Prestwood integrates software with 7IM

Prestwood has integrated its cashflow modeling software with the Seven Investment Management system. Prestwood has also designed a value-added support package for 7IM. The software can be used on iPads, mobile phones and laptops.

Ritchie Walton, managing director of Prestwood said: “Experience has shown that advisers who use lifelong cash-flow forecasting are likely to become more profitable more quickly and it is important for us that our users have the best technical support available in the country.”

Tilney Bestinvest investment director takes up role at EQ Investors

EQ Investors, the boutique wealth manager led by John Spiers, has announced that Mike Neumann has commenced his role with the company as head of Investment Management. Neumann will focus on investment strategies for the firm’s EQ Bespoke clients, with responsibility across all areas of solution design, management and client delivery.

Neumann, who has over 25 years of investing experience, joins from Tilney Bestinvest, where he was director of Investment Management.

EQ has also announced the appointment of Terri Jones as business development manager, as the business targets growth across its range of service offerings.

Defaqto reports on hybrid products

Defaqto has published a case study, ’The case for hybrid’, which examines the role of hybrid solutions in planning for retirement. The case study explores the differences between blended solutions, in which two or more individual products are implemented side by side, and hybrid solutions, which offer flexibility and security in one arrangement.

Gillian Cardy, Insight Consultant (Wealth) at Defaqto who wrote the study said: “Numerous studies are continuing to demonstrate that clients value secure income in retirement, but that they are also interested in benefiting from many of the flexibilities introduced by last year’s pension reforms.

“Those with smaller pension funds see no reason why they too cannot benefit from the flexibility of not having to buy an annuity, or being able to leave cash legacies to their beneficiaries or balancing security and flexibility.

“The practical issue that advisers have to confront is how to offer such advice in a cost effective way, especially for those with more modest pension funds who would typically have been advised to purchase annuities and for whom the cost of more bespoke advice strategies may have been prohibitive.”

The publication is free to download.

 

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