Kingwood Holdings has struck a £3.3 million deal to buy Oxford-based wealth firm Thomas & Co Financial Services, accompanying the news with the launch of its managed portfolio service (MPS).
Kingswood, which rebranded from European Wealth in 2017, described the acquisition as a 'major step' as it strives to become a leader in the UK wealth market.
It comes after the sudden departure of its chief executive, Marianne Ismail, earlier this month, suggesting its immediate strategy has not been impacted by the exit. It also follows its purchase of advice firm Marchant McKechnie in October.
New chief executive Gary Wilder told the market: 'Our strategy remains firmly focused on seeking opportunities, domestically and internationally, to drive growth in revenue and assets under management and advice, through acquisition and by attracting best in class wealth and investment talent to the Kingswood platform.'
Under the deal, Kingswood will pay £1.5 million upfront for Thomas & Co, with the remainder subject to certain profitability and and revenue targets met over the next three years.
Thomas & Co founder Joe Berry said: 'Kingswood is a very similar firm to us, with a strong commitment to protecting client's wealth and providing first-class advice, with the emphasis on face-to-face personal service.
'They also give us access to an array of innovative investment products and services beyond those readily available to our private clients.'
Berry and his team will join Kingswood on completion and continue to operate from their Abingdon base.
Thomas & Co offers a wide range of services to its clients, including personal and company pensions, investments and tax planning. It serves around 500 clients and has approximately £150 million of assets under advice.
For the year to 31 December 2017, the firm generated a pre-tax profit of £0.46 million. Kingswood expects the acquisition to be immediately earnings accretive, with future income growth anticipated from additional revenue enhancement and cost synergies.
The deal increases Kingswood's active clients to 4,500 and its assets under management to £1.9 billion. It also broadens the firm's UK footprint, adding to its existing office network in London, Manchester, Cheltenham, Maidstone, Worcester and Beverley.
Wilder indicated Thomas & Co could be the first of many acquisitions. 'Our integrated wealth and investment management platform provides Kingswood with a strong competitive advantage and enables us to drive growth initiatives under a common brand,' he said.
'We have a strong pipeline of opportunities we are currently evaluating.'
At the same time, Kingswood announced the launch of an MPS out if its wealth division Kingswood Investment Management (KIM).
The MPS will offer a choice of strategies, including income generation, passive investment and ethical investments. The firm said the portfolios will be available on the key platforms used by wealth planners in the UK at 'very attractive' pricing.
It is also assessing other investment product offerings across fixed income and alternatives in key asset classes, including private equity, real estate, infrastructure, hedge funds, liquids and credit.
Kingswood CIO Richard Stammers (pictured above) said: 'This is an actively managed solution for our clients which, in current uncertain times, gives them the confidence that their money is being properly protected.
'This protection is evidenced by the outperformance of each of the strategies against our peer group during the market turmoil seen in recent months.'
KIM chief executive Patrick Goulding added: 'Our managed portfolio service delivers a highly effective investment solution to clients across a range of risk levels. This service is a core initiative for the group in the UK and, over time, in the US.
'It has been available through our internal platform for five years and has an established track record. Given this record and the current demand for such products, we believe this is an ideal time to distribute it more widely.'