Benchmark launches in Northern Ireland with acquisition of Waterhouse Financial Planning

This acquisition establishes a presence for Benchmark in Northern Ireland and will add over £120 million to the existing £2.1 billion of client assets in Benchmark’s national advice business.

Benchmark Capital, a leading provider of financial planning solutions and part of the Schroders Group, is today announcing the completion of the acquisition of Waterhouse Financial Planning.

This acquisition establishes a presence for Benchmark in Northern Ireland and will add over £120 million to the existing £2.1 billion of client assets in Benchmark’s national advice business. It also increases Benchmark’s total number of financial advisers to 64 across seven offices in the UK.

Waterhouse will provide Benchmark with a strong presence in Northern Ireland through its principal office in Derry, where all staff are based. The Waterhouse team will remain with the business following this acquisition, providing continuity of service to clients. Thomas Leonard, Waterhouse’s Managing Director, will focus on developing the business across the region, with Sinead Meena, Chartered Financial Planner, leading the financial planning practice.

Benchmark is focused on supporting high-quality financial planning firms at every stage of their business, from starting up, running more efficiently, accelerating their growth and ultimately planning for succession. This latest acquisition is another example of the continuation of Benchmark’s strategy to not only expand its own advice business across the UK, but also to support firms with their own through structured efficiency, growth and exit planning.

Benchmark and Waterhouse see significant growth opportunities in Northern Ireland and are committed to building on their presence in Derry, as well as looking at further expansion in the region. Benchmark has already invested in new offices in Derry to support recent growth and to provide an opportunity to further build the local team and expand the business.

The acquisition follows the recent appointments of Ian McMillan and Stephen Robarts, who join Benchmark as Acquisitions Director, and Head of Acquisition Finance respectively, to support its strong acquisition pipeline.

Ed Dymott, Managing Director Wealth, Benchmark, said:

“We are excited that Waterhouse has become part of Benchmark and see significant opportunities to further develop the business in Northern Ireland. Waterhouse initially partnered with Benchmark in 2018 and has subsequently been able to benefit from our combination of technology, compliance and practice management services to support the growth of its business.

“Waterhouse has a fantastic reputation with a great client base and employs some of the best Chartered Financial Planners in the region. We are not only delighted to have supported the growth of the business over the last few years but to also now be able to help realise value for the directors in a way which provides the best outcomes for their clients and team. We look forward to working with Tom and Sinead in the next phase of the growth of their business.”

Tom Leonard, Managing Director, Waterhouse, said:

“We are pleased for our clients and the team to become part of Benchmark, which will enable us to further accelerate our ambition to be the leading Chartered Financial Planner in Northern Ireland. We initially partnered with Benchmark given its reputation for supporting high quality, independent, chartered financial planners through their technology enabled proposition. We believe it is unrivalled in its approach and has given us the tools, support and flexibility to grow our business over the last four years.

“Like many firms who are considering their succession plans, we evaluated many options. However, we believe the values and vision of Benchmark are best aligned with ours and this allows us to continue to deliver great client outcomes without compromise.

“Stability, security and long-term client outcomes and destination is very important to us. Partnering with a firm like Benchmark, with secure parentage, enables us to deliver this.”

Sinead Meenan, Chartered Financial Planner, Waterhouse and Wealth Planning Director Benchmark, said:

“It is exciting that we will move into the next evolution of our business with Benchmark. We are thrilled to be part of Benchmark and are looking forward to further developing in Northern Ireland.

“We are also delighted to see the commitment to Derry, including our new offices, which gives us the foundations to support our future growth.”

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