Ascot Lloyd and Bellpenny agree merger deal

Nigel Stockton

Bellpenny and Ascot Lloyd have agreed to merge, creating a company with £6bn in assets under advice, Fund Strategy sister publication Money Marketing has revealed.

The merger completed on 1 July. Money Marketing first tipped a deal was on the cards in May.

The combined company has more than 100 advisers and more than 40,000 clients, which it claims makes it one of the largest independently owned wealth management businesses in the UK.

Bellpenny chief executive Nigel Stockton will be chief executive of the new business and Bellpenny chief financial officer Matthew Moore will take on the same role at the new company.

Ascot Lloyd group chief financial officer Iain Balchin has left the company.

According to the FCA register, Balchin’s role at Ascot Lloyd ended on 23 May. He joined the company from St James’s Place in February 2016.

Ascot Lloyd chief executive Richard Dunbabin and founder director Pat O’Hara will assist the executive team.

The value of the merger is not disclosed and both businesses are now owned by Bellpenny’s private equity backer Oaktree Capital Management.

The combined business also includes Bellpenny’s independent advice arm, BIA Financial Planning. All three businesses will keep their brands.

BIA Financial Planning acquired EFG Independent Financial Advisers in January and, at that time, Stockton reaffirmed the company’s “fewer, larger deals strategy”.

He now says: “The new entity merges two near-identical sized businesses with similar structures and closely-aligned client propositions. It delivers material long-term benefits and expanded opportunities for both companies’ private and corporate clients, along with increased resources and expertise.”

Dunbabin says the merger gives Ascot Lloyd the financial backing to grow the business and wants the deal to be the most successful either company has done to date.

He says: “This can only provide greater stability, security and comfort to our clients – qualities that are at a premium in these uncertain economic and political times.”

Independent M&A advisory firm Quayle Munro acted for Oaktree Capital Management and Bellpenny on the transaction.