2020 Trustees and Punter Southall Governance Services (PSGS) have announced a merger, to form new business Vidett.

The merger - announced today (27 February) - means Vidett is now the largest UK professional trustee and pension governance firm by number of clients.

The new business looks after more than 475 clients with total assets in excess of £142bn, and has over 2.5 million scheme members.

Vidett will be jointly led by co-chief executives (CEO) Naomi L'Estrange, who was formerly 2020 Trustees managing director, and PSGS former CEO Wayne Phelan.

L'Estrange and Phelan said: "We both independently concluded our businesses were complementary and combining them would add significant impetus to accelerate our growth plans. 2020 Trustees and PSGS had different attributes but similar ambition and cultures, based on collaborative teamwork, sharing knowledge to drive progress for our clients and embracing innovation.

"As both firms have always been committed to delivering the best client service, this will be a key measure of Vidett's success in the future."

The pair added: "The opportunity to work together excites us and we both believe this merger will be a significant boost for our teams. They'll be part of a strong, confident business intent on leading the way in professional trusteeship and pension governance. We hope this will make us the employer of choice in what is a very competitive market.

"The way we've worked so well together over the past months to create Vidett demonstrates how well aligned our teams are, how strong our vision for the business is and how quickly we can integrate.

"Importantly, these are clear messages to both our clients and the professional advisers we work with about the seriousness of our offering and commitment to the market and the cohesion of Vidett."

The deal comes just weeks after Ross Trustees Services and Independent Trustee Services (ITS) announced a merger to form a combined business called Independent Governance Group (IGG) - a combined business which will have 119 employees as well as a total of 437 appointments and over £340bn of assets under governance.

It also follows Ross Trustees' announcement that it had acquired Clark Benefit Consulting (CBC) Pension Services last August and follows a wave of consolidation in the market, including Zedra's acquisition of PTL last January.

Isio's professional independent trustee survey last year found the 12 largest firms in the market represented over 2,000 pension schemes and were responsible for over £1,150bn in assets.

Professional trustees: Number of appointments and scheme assets (£bn)

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Source: Isio Professional Independent Trustee Survey 2022