7IM, a privately-held, London-based asset management firm best known to many as the operational base of its co-founder, the famously red-braced and outspoken Justin Urquhart Stewart, has acquired Partners Wealth Management, an advisory firm also headquartered in London.
Although it's not widely known outside of American expat finance and wealth management circles, both businesses have operations that cater to American expats resident in the UK.
The deal was unveiled by 7IM – formerly known as Seven Investment Management – last week, in an announcement that said it was part of the company's "long-term strategy of continued growth".
The purchase price and other transactional details of the acquisition weren't given. But 7IM said the deal created a group with combined assets under management of approximately £17bn (US$21.66bn), of which £2bn Partners Wealth Management's share, and an employee headcount of more than 400.
Under the deal, Partners Wealth Management (PWM), which is headed up by David Stoll, senior partner, and James Roberts, managing partner, "will continue to operate as an independent company from 7IM, retaining its brand, identity and leadership," the 7IM announcement said.
"However, the deal will see integration of some back-office functions, with PWM also benefiting from 7IM's technological capabilities."
7IM was founded in 2002 by Urquhart Stewart, who is British, and Tom Sheridan, who is American, who did so because, they later explained, they "couldn't find an investment management service we'd be happy to use for ourselves and our families". Both of the founders have recently retired (Urqhart Stewart leaving at the end of last year, Sheridan a few months earlier), and the company is now headed up by its chief executive, Dean Proctor, who joined the company 17 months ago from Barclays.
As reported, 7IM last year began offering an investment product designed specifically for American expatriates living in the UK, something Sheridan told the American Expat Financial News Journal he had been determined to do – being, in his words, only too familiar with “the plight of Americans living outside the United States, for whom doing very basic things in the financial services world, for yourself and your family, is sometimes hard".
The 7IM US Investor Service, as it's called, basically consists of a choice of model portfolios, in either a U.S. dollar or sterling version, which is structured to be fully compliant for U.S. investors living in the UK.
Overseeing the business is 7IM private client team manager Olivia West (pictured above), who was involved in helping Sheridan to develop and launch the product.
Partners Wealth: 'One of UK's largest IFA firms'
Partners Wealth Management was founded in 2004, and claims to be one of the largest independent financial advice firms in the UK.
Nathan Prior, pictured left, who heads up PWM's American expat-focused business, as a partner and head of international, joined in 2015, although he admits that it's only really begun to become a key market player "over the past year or so". Prior previously worked for Merrill Lynch ad Julius Baer, where he first began working with non-domiciled clients resident in the UK, and received an advanced certificate in UK tax for International Clients from the Society for Trust & Estate Practitioners.
At PWM, "our focus is on financial planning and investment strategy," he says.
As for how the combined 7IM and Partners Wealth Management offering for American expats will look, both Prior and his 7IM counterparts say it's too soon to say anything.
"We will let you know when we have something to tell you," a spokesperson for 7IM told the AXFNJ.