Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

April 2024 UK M&A Market Update: M&A Activity Picks Up for the Investment Sector

April was a busy month for M&A activity in the UK investment sector, particularly in wealth management, while UK insurance distribution M&A was relatively quiet.

Insurance M&A market update  

April proved to be a relatively quiet month for announced UK insurance distribution mergers and acquisitions (M&A), with only nine new transactions, taking the year-to-date (YTD) total for 2024 to 45 (vs. 54 at the same point in 2023).  

There is an ongoing trend of a reduction in the average size of transactions. In 2023 the average headcount of all M&A targets (excluding personal lines) was 27, a drop from more than 50 in both 2021 and 2022. YTD for 2024 the average headcount of deals is 16. Mainstream buyers in the UK are increasingly targeting smaller acquisitions, driven both by the lack of supply of medium sized opportunities, and because they can buy at better prices among (often unadvised) sellers of smaller firms. 

The most notable deal in the month was ICG’s investment into Staysure, the specialist travel insurance provider. This was the second direct private equity investment into the sector in 2024, equaling the total seen during all of 2023. It was also the thirteenth personal lines deal of 2024, versus only 17 during the whole of 2023, suggesting a marked increase in activity in this segment.  

Other transactions: 

  • Jensten Group announced two new acquisitions (as well as the agreement of a new £170m credit facility), for Henry Seymour & Co., a broker in Surrey that includes the Salon Gold brand, and Robert Gerrard & Co. in Chingford. 
  • JMG Group announced its largest deal of the year so far and the biggest commercial lines deal of the month, adding BQI Insurance and its sister company BQI Protection, with £25m of gross written premium. 
  • Norfolk-based Top 50 broker Alan Boswell Group acquired The Insurance Centre, a taxi and driving school specialist located in Norwich. 
  • AssuredPartners announced a new acquisition in South Wales, adding LT Insurance, which will become part of Assured-owned PSP Insurance Brokers
  • Ardonagh announced a deal for SIB Insurance in Southport. 
  • Seventeen Group announced its third deal of 2024, adding Jannard Quadrant Insurance Brokers in Watford. 
  • NSM-owned Kingfisher added Lynbrook Insurance Services, a classic car specialist. 

Investment M&A market update 

April was a busy month for M&A activity in the investment sector, particularly in wealth management, with the deal making being led by Söderberg & Partners buying stakes in four firms: Tunbridge Wells-based Courtney Havers, Worcester-based Bespoke-Advice Ltd (£630m of client assets), Surrey-based Clear Financial Advice (£120m of client assets), and Walton-on-Thames-based Bigmore Associates. This marks six UK acquisitions announced in 2024 by the Swedish wealth manager and 11 since receiving additional investment from KKR in June 2023.  

Other notable wealth management transactions:  

  • Dubai-based Hoxton Capital Management, which recently reached $1.7bn of assets under management (AUM), also had a busy month, acquiring Guildford-based Bartholomew Financial Planning and Dudley-based Alpha Financial Services (£80m of AUM).  
  • Titan Wealth expanded its presence in the East of England with the purchase of Norwich-based Loveday & Partners, adding £600m of AUM, pushing Titan Wealth’s total AUM to £17.3bn. It was also reported that Titan Wealth was considering a deal for fellow Ares Management-backed wealth manager Independent Wealth Planners.  
  • Foresight Wealth Group announced the acquisition of Burnley-based IFA Cassons Financial Planning, adding £120m of client assets to the Cheshire-based financial planner.   
  • Loyal North, which manages £1.9bn in client assets nationally, added an additional £60m of client funds with the acquisition of Surrey-based advice firm Whitman-Fry.  
  • Investment management and stockbroking firm Redmayne Bentley announced that it would buy the private client business of Liverpool-based wealth manager Blankstone Sington.  
  • Becketts announced the acquisition of fellow Bury St Edmunds-based Waveney Valley Independent Financial Advisers, adding two additional financial planners as well as two back-office staff.  

Other transactions: 

  • Maven Capital, the private equity subsidiary of Mattioli Woods, completed its previously announced purchase of the EIS-focused fund, Newable Ventures.  
  • C. Hoare & Co announced it had sold its 100-year-old trust administration business to Ludlow Trust
  • Pivotal Growth announced it had acquired mortgage and protection broker John Charcol Group
  • Broadstone announced it had purchased analytics and credit risk consultancy Vestigo Partners.  

MarshBerry remains resolutely focused on providing our clients with access to the fullest range of options, ensuring the best fit – and typically the best price – if and when they come to sell. Talking about these issues is always valuable, whether you plan to sell now, or in the years to come. 

Contact Olly Laughton-Scott
If you have questions about Today's ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help your firm determine its path forward, please email or call Olly Laughton-Scott, Managing Director, at +44 (0)20 7444 4392.
Contact Fred Hansson
If you have questions about Today's ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help your firm determine its path forward, please email or call Fred Hansson, Managing Director, at +44 (0)20 7444 4393.

MarshBerry continues to be the #1 sell side advisor in the industry (as ranked by S&P Global). If you’re considering selling your firm, we are the best choice to help you through the complicated process. If you don’t hire MarshBerry, hire a reputable advisor that can help you navigate one of the most important business decisions you will ever make. You will be much better off having an advisor in your corner that knows the industry than trying to do this on your own.