Succession is approached by IFAs looking to consolidate after Aviva deal

First reported in FTAdviser – read in full here

Paul Morrish, the founder of Succession Wealth, has revealed that the firm has been approached by a number of IFAs which are seeking a buyer since the Aviva deal – rather than the other way around.

Despite the image of the large consolidator swooping down on IFAs, many small firms have sought a partnership with the national advisor.

Aviva acquired Succession last summer in one of the most significant financial mergers of the year.

“There was always a question about what the market would react like, but the unexpected surprise for me has been the number of firms who contacted me directly because partly, they know we’ve got the money”, Paul Morrish, Succession’s founder, commented.

“Another part is also the security and being part of [Aviva] and I hope we’ve made a good job of getting the message out there that it is business as usual.”

Despite being owned by Aviva, Succession has remained autonomous in its direction.

“They just said to keep doing more of the same,” Mr Morrish continued. “So probably the word to underline there is more because they’ve got capital to deploy so the positive is, we’re not capital constrained.

“Someone said shortly after the deal, ‘you’re never going to be asked are you good for the money again’ so that’s a nice good place to be. Because Aviva haven’t got to generate a quick buck out of what we buy, you’re not trying to shoehorn someone into a fairly narrow economic model to prove they were a good business to buy, so we have got a lot more flexibility.

“We’re still parameterised around how we look at an opportunity and how we structure a deal that works – whether that’s the length of the earn out or opportunities for the people in the business – but we felt a degree of more flexibility.”

Mr Morrish said that he took one in seventeen firms to a second conversation in 2021, which decreased to one in nineteen in 2022. “I’m trying to keep the threshold of quality, but now it is more about fit,” he said.

Succession acquired G+E Wealth Management last year, an established Yorkshire-based firm – the first deal under Aviva ownership.

Discussing the deal, Morrish said: “My initial concern was how do we make sure that we are seen as business as usual, but that didn’t really come to anything.

“I didn’t expect firms to be contacting us directly and either saying ‘we’ve got a relationship somewhere else with Aviva’ or actually ‘we like what we see, can we have a conversation because I don’t necessarily want to be in the market’.”

He added: “So actually, I found last year as more of [talking to] people who haven’t gone through a process and they aren’t just trying to batter prices everywhere – they just want to get the right deal for themselves and that’s a much easier way of doing it.”

If you are looking to sell your business, find out more about the selling process and how Gunner & Co. can help you. Book a meeting with our Senior Broker Josh here.

Gunner & Co. specialise in IFA sales, IFA business sales, retiring IFAs and IFA client bank sales.