UK wealth giant M&G has agreed to buy Plymouth-headquartered IFA business Continuum Financial Services for an undisclosed sum.
M&G will first acquire a 49.9% stake in the company this year and then purchase the remainder over the following two years.
Set up in 2014, Continuum has £1.5bn ($1.8bn, €1.7bn) in assets under influence and more than 12,000 clients. It employs over 60 independent financial advisers operating throughout the UK.
The IFA firm has also seen growth via its in-house discretionary model portfolio service – My Continuum Wealth – which is currently managed by Marlborough Investments, but it will be mandated to M&G Wealth Investments post- acquisition.
M&G Wealth was created in September 2020 to close the “growing advice gap” by increasing scale, the firm said. It aims to have around 1,000 financial advisers within the next four to five years to open up its proposition to as many clients as possible.
Following the Continuum acquisition, M&G’s restricted and independent adviser headcount will reach 500.
Address advice gap
David Montgomery, managing director of M&G Wealth, said: “This was an unmissable opportunity to partner with another fast-growing, top quality independent financial advice business.
“We want our advice services to be accessible to everyone which is core to the Continuum philosophy. This is vital for the financial services industry as we collectively seek to address the advice gap. Financial advice should not be just for the wealthy – it must be trusted, welcoming, unintimidating and should seek to deliver best outcomes and experiences for clients no matter their circumstances.
“Continuum has an outstanding brand reputation within the market and has a firm commitment to sustainable investment and working practices. Overall, it’s a great cultural fit with our existing advice businesses.”
Martin Brown, managing partner at Continuum, added: “Through market opportunities created by the lack of distribution, an increasing demand for high quality financial advice and changes driven by the pandemic, we extensively reviewed our strategic options to best increase our scale and deliver to this need.
“This development enables us to continue to accelerate the growth of our business sustainably, increase our national footprint of high-quality individuals and enhance our offering to clients and advisers. Ultimately, this allows us to deliver a greater reach to fulfil the growing advice need in the market.
“Importantly this ensures Continuum will progress its long-term ambitions of becoming a household brand and importantly a ‘home for life’ for clients, advisers, staff and future generations to come.”
Following the demerger from Prudential in 2019, M&G has been on a growth trajectory in the UK wealth space.
It created a £28bn wealth management arm in 2020 – M&G Wealth – which comprised of the Ascentric platform it had acquired from Royal London, Prudential Financial planning, The Advice Partnership and M&G Direct funds business.
Since then, the firm set out plans to growth in the UK wealth and financial advice space both organically and via acquisitions, including the more recent purchase of Sandringham Financial Partners and a minority stake in digital wealth manager Moneyfarm.
At the end of July 2022, Saudi conglomerate Kingdom Holding Company, controlled by Saudi Arabian prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, acquired a 6.8% stake – approximately £224m – in M&G.