International financial advisory firm Globaleye has plans for an acquisition spree worldwide with growth ambitions in the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The Dubai-headquartered firm is keen to focus “on the places” where it currently has operations.
Rupert Searle, general manager at Globaleye, told International Adviser: “We do see the UK as quite an important market for us.
“Particularly after covid, we’ve had a lot of clients repatriating to the UK. We set up an appointed representative firm 18 months ago, but we are looking to become directly authorised this year, which is planned via acquisition of a firm already authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.”
Searle said that the firm is actively looking to buy companies with around $100-250m (£74.6m, €89.2m) of assets under management in the UK and Europe.
The company has now announced that it acquired an unnamed Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) regulated firm for an undisclosed sum in 2021, IA can reveal.
Searle said: “The SCA are continually reviewing their framework and scope of regulation and announced that some significant changes would be implemented, just when we were ready to announce the purchase.
“We decided not to announce the news and to explore alternative licensing including the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC).
“We’re very confident now, having seen the updated draft legislation and how they’re changing behind the scenes that SCA is going to be relevant, in fact, more relevant than before.”
The main reason why Globaleye didn’t disclose the acquisition sooner was down to SCA’s incoming capital adequacy rules.
Searle said: “We knew we needed the SCA licence, which is why we bought the firm. It was always part of the plan. We also believed that SCA and the Insurance Authority might merge but that has not happened.”
In early 2021, Globaleye received a “significant investment” from an undisclosed Swiss-based family office. This helped the firm target strategic areas such as recruitment, acquisitions, technology, and new lines of business.
Searle said: “Our Swiss family office transaction was done just before the covid pandemic and was a good period for us to sit and reflect on where the businesses, the industry and the world was heading.
“For at least a year, we remained cautious and protected the business, turning down some opportunities that we might not have under ‘normal’ circumstances. Foundations have been laid. It’s only just the beginning of us starting to put those funds to work.”
One of the foundations was a global rebrand, which the firm carried out several weeks ago.
“We’ve been talking about it for some time, however the change needed to come from within first. We have spent four years developing our business model and the new brand now reflects that” Searle added. “We identified a real gap in the market where affluent individuals are just not being advised properly.
“This is because most financial advisers are retail and are not looking at high-net-worth individuals.
“The clients in the higher bracket between $1m-$25m net worth likely deal with private banks or external asset managers, and in those institutions its very much product sales and one-dimensional services. We realised that being an independent and holistic wealth manager is something that is really needed.”
Searle said that the company would like “to be positioned as a professional advisory firm for affluent and high-net-worth individuals” within five years.
“Being professional advisory firm, we aim to provide tax planning, high-value insurance and wealth management,” he said. “I suppose you can compare it to a multi-family office, although we are not calling ourselves that, it’s essentially where we’re heading.
“Then for our legacy clients who don’t fit in the high-net-worth bracket, we are building technology that will help service them digitally and be a fully-fledged hybrid wealth manager.”