Lightyear Enters Large and Growing UK Wealth Management Industry
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lightyear Capital LLC (“Lightyear”) today announced that investment funds affiliated with Lightyear have agreed to acquire Wren Sterling Financial Planning Limited (“Wren Sterling”), a leading UK independent financial advice and financial planning firm, from Palatine Private Equity. The senior management team of Wren Sterling will remain significant shareholders on closing of the transaction. Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in 2021 subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Formed in 2015, Wren Sterling is a comprehensive provider of independent financial advice and financial planning to more than 13,000 households and corporate clients in the UK market. Wren Sterling operates across the UK and advises across every aspect of financial planning including pensions, investments, protection, estate planning and employee benefits. In the personal finance market, Wren Sterling specializes in savings, investments and retirement planning. For corporate clients, Wren Sterling provides advice on pensions as well as workplace benefits.
On closing, the Lightyear funds’ investment in Wren Sterling will be Lightyear’s eighth transaction in the asset and wealth management industry, following successful investments in Cetera, Clarion, RidgeWorth, Wealth Enhancement Group, and Advisor Group, as well as current investments in both Cerity Partners and Allworth.
“We are excited to partner with Ian Darby and the talented management team at Wren Sterling to support their continued success through organic growth and future acquisition opportunities,” said Mark F. Vassallo, Managing Partner of Lightyear. “Lightyear’s investment in Wren Sterling will build on our successful track record in wealth management and reflects our longstanding thematic focus on the growth of independent financial advice.”
“The UK wealth management market is large, growing, and fragmented, and, as an independent platform with integrated and specialized solutions, we believe Wren Sterling is well-positioned to address the increased complexity of financial planning. Wren Sterling is an outstanding firm delivering great value to its personal and corporate clients across the UK,” said Max Rakhlin, Managing Director of Lightyear.
Ian Darby, Wren Sterling’s Executive Chairman said: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured Lightyear as our partner in a transaction that will bring real benefits for Wren Sterling’s clients, shareholders and staff. As well as providing a return for our investors, it will enable us to grow our business and continue to invest in our client service.”
“Lightyear brings years of expertise in scaling financial advice businesses, plus the capital we require to help us grow Wren Sterling, so they’re an ideal partner for us.
“The UK financial advice market has huge latent demand for our services and through our successful acquisition strategy and diverse routes to market, we’ve been able to build a strong business. The timing of this investment is perfect for us as we look to grow further and capitalize on our opportunity,” said Mr. Darby.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is serving as legal advisor and Evercore is serving as financial advisor to Lightyear.
About Lightyear Capital LLC
Founded in 2000, Lightyear Capital is a financial services-focused private equity firm based in New York. Through its affiliated private equity funds, Lightyear makes primarily control investments in North America-based, middle-market companies across the financial services spectrum, including asset and wealth management, banking, brokerage, healthcare financial services, insurance, payments and processing, and commercial and consumer finance. The firm brings focus and discipline to its investment process, as well as operating, transaction and strategic management experience, along with significant contacts and resources beyond capital. For more information, please visit www.lycap.com.
About Wren Sterling
Wren Sterling is a national firm of independent financial planners with seven UK offices and over £4.6bn in assets under advice. We advise thousands of individuals and businesses across the UK on every aspect of financial planning including pensions, investments, protection, estate planning and employee benefits.