The joint administrators at Smith & Williamson have sold the self-invested personal pensions (Sipp) business of Guinness Mahon Trust Corporation (GMTC) to Hartley Pensions.
Adam Stephens and Nick Myers were appointed with the consent of the Financial Conduct Authority on 17 February 2020 and immediately concluded the sale of the business and certain assets to Hartley Pensions.
The sale includes the transfer of around 4,000 Sipps with a total investment value of £300m ($391m, €361m), previously administered by GMTC.
The deal does not include the legal entity Guinness Mahon Trust Corporation, which remains in administration.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Surrey-based GMTC specialised in the provision of technical and administration services, and also acted as the corporate trustee of the Sipps.
Stephens said: “The sale followed an extensive marketing exercise, with multiple offers being received. The sale to Hartley corresponded to the best offer being received for the business.”
All staff will transfer across to Hartley.
The joint administrators and Hartley Pensions said they “do not anticipate that there will be any interruption to the services previously provided by GMTC”.
The FCA said in a statement: “GMTC received complaints about historic high-risk non-standard investments (NSIs) and the lack of due diligence that GMTC had carried out before accepting these NSIs into customers’ Sipps.
“Following professional advice sought by GMTC about its liabilities arising from existing and potential claims, the company’s directors were advised that GMTC was insolvent and should be placed into administration to provide protection for the clients and creditors.”
Clients will be contacted in the coming days, by both the joint administrators and Hartley, and given information about their pensions.
Any rights GMTC customers may have to make a claim against the company via the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) “will be unaffected”, according to Smith & Williamson.
Small self-administered scheme (Ssas) products were administered by a separate company regulated by The Pensions Regulator, called Pan Trustees, which has not entered administration.
Previous M&A activity
This is not the first business Hartley Pensions has bought over the last 18 months.
While, in October 2018, Hartley bought the assets of Greyfriars Asset Management, a Leicester-based Sipp provider and financial advice firm, after it entered administration.
Hartley Pensions has provided financial services for over 35 years and is part of the Wilton Group.
The business manages more than £1bn of clients’ assets.