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IFA firm completes management buyout

It will continue to grow organically and ‘through targeted acquisition’

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UK-based Wren Sterling has secured an undisclosed majority investment from US private equity firm Lightyear Capital.

The funds will help the IFA business to complete a management buyout from Palatine Private Equity and shareholders, subject to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval.

The deal will see all of Wren Sterling’s management team and staff remain in place, with a remit to “continue to grow the business through organic growth and targeted acquisition, supported by Lightyear”, it said in a statement.

Wren Sterling was created following a management buyout of Towergate Financial led by Ian Darby and supported by Palatine Private Equity in March 2015.

Growth

Ian Darby, Wren Sterling’s executive chairman, said: “We have secured a fantastic deal for Wren Sterling’s clients, shareholders and staff. It will provide a return for our investors, enable us to grow our business and continue to invest in our client service.

“Lightyear will bring years of expertise in growing financial advice businesses, plus the capital we require to help us grow Wren Sterling, so they’re an ideal partner for us. Palatine has been a hugely supportive owner over the last six years. Through the management team’s hard work and Palatine’s guidance, we’ve created a dynamic business that is helping many people across the UK to make the right financial decisions.

“Wren Sterling’s management team led by chief executive Ian Halley, advisers and staff deserve huge credit for their commitment and professionalism over those years and I’m looking forward to the next stage of our growth.”

Mark Vassallo, managing partner of Lightyear, added: “We are excited to partner with Ian Darby and the talented management team at Wren Sterling to support their continued success through organic growth and future acquisition opportunities.

“Lightyear’s investment in Wren Sterling will build on our successful track record in wealth management and reflects our longstanding thematic focus on the growth of independent financial advice.”

This comes a month after Wren Sterling bought Sentinel Private Clients of Warwickshire, Cardiff-based Bookeeping Administration Services (BKAS) and Rothesay Intelligent Financial Services in Bedfordshire for an undisclosed sum.

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