Fairstone has announced the acquisition of Lisburn-based Fairstone NI, expanding Fairstone’s presence in Northern Ireland.
The deal represents Fairstone’s eighth acquisition in 2021 via its downstream buy out model. The model integrates IFA firms into the group, prior to final acquisition.
During the integration phase, Partner firms are supported to optimise their business performance and fulfil their growth aspirations before crystallising a structured sale of their business at a premium valuation. This unique proposition, which embeds flexibility on the timing of the acquisition to place the seller in control, enables IFA firms to maximise value and benefit from growth, both before and after acquisition.
Fairstone NI joined the DBO model in 2015 and were seeking a longer than typical integration runway to allow them to significantly grow their business by leveraging group support on multiple levels. Since then, the firm’s revenues have tripled while client numbers have doubled through partnering with Fairstone.
Commenting on the deal, Lee Hartley, CEO of Fairstone, said:
“We are very happy to complete the final acquisition of Fairstone NI, which is a first-rate business with proven leaders in Sean and Peter. We have worked closely with the dynamic team throughout the integration phase to provide the support and framework to grow the business and they have really become a big part of the Fairstone family.
“Our experience shows that culturally aligned forward thinking firms are the most profitable and successful in the long-term. Peter, Sean and the team place clients at their core and their commitment to first-class service makes them an excellent fit for us.
“We are looking forward to continuing to work with the team to support them to significantly grow the business, without compromising on client service or independence.”
Significantly, the vast majority of companies that have successfully reached ultimate acquisition stage demonstrate continued organic growth and a higher valuation than expected at the outset of the journey, with firms commonly exceeding their original aspirational sale value. On average, the firms Fairstone has acquired received 111% of their total earn-out value.
Fairstone NI principal Sean Larkin said:
“We partnered with Fairstone as they shared the same client ethos and culture as ourselves. This enabled us to continue to provide independent financial advice and a first-class service to our clients whilst having the support of a large organisation.
“Our partnership together has been a huge success with our business growing considerably. We are now very proud to have been fully acquired by Fairstone and are confident that this will further strengthen our client proposition as well as providing opportunities for our staff to grow and develop further within the business.”
Mr Larkin’s fellow Fairstone NI principal Peter Savage added:
“We were looking for a partner that would provide a platform for us to grow our business and deliver the best outcomes for our clients. We found that company in Fairstone.
“They have the same beliefs and attitude to us about putting clients first. We were able to leverage their technology and presence to build our company during the integration. It was the best decision for our clients, our business and one I will never regret.”
The focus of Fairstone’s approach is to attract businesses that do not want to sell today, instead targeting robust and well-managed firms that want to grow and develop, therefore crystallising a higher overall valuation in the future.