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Sanlam buys Newcastle firm as it builds SJP challenge

Sanlam buys Newcastle firm as it builds SJP challenge

Sanlam UK has acquired Newcastle financial planner Blackett Walker in a further boost to its presence in the North of England.

The adviser and employee benefits firm was set up in 1994 and focuses on clients across the North of England, employing five advisers with a client base of approximately 1,000, specialising in medical professionals.

A spokesperson for the group declined to reveal how much it paid for the company.

The announcement follows Sanlam UK’s purchase of Preston-based financial planning firm, Astute Wealth Management, in January.

The deal is the latest step toward building its own adviser network in a strategy intended to offer a direct challenge to St James's Place, following its partnership with Ergowealth to build a vertically integrated advice, platform and funds business in July.

Sanlam restructured its business in 2016 to better compete with the likes of SJP and Standard Life.

Sanlam UK has £12 billion assets under management (AUM). Its private wealth division has £2.7 billion AUM, and its wealth planning service advises on £2 billion of client assets.  

John White (pictured), chief executive of Sanlam UK’s Wealth division, said: ‘In line with our commitment to expand our regional footprint, this deal will further strengthen our wealth management presence in the North of England.

‘I look forward to working with our new colleagues to develop our proposition for current and future clients.’

In a 2017 interview, White explained to Wealth Manager how he was trying to connect the dots between Sanlam's existing services.

'The driving element of why we ended up here is the opportunity. We have all the component parts and can offer quality advice,' he said. 'It is hard and there aren’t lots of examples of where it’s been a success.

'But there is a view that financial planning and wealth management are becoming more aligned – they have the same regulatory, suitability and risk profiling requirements,’ he says.

'You always get a better solution when both the financial planner and the DFM go [to meet a client] together. It’s not necessarily cost-effective for us in every case, but it is best for the client, ensuring there are common goals.'

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