Hurst Point Group has acquired fellow wealth manager Helm Godfrey in a deal that will see it add £1bn in assets under advice (AUA) and half a billion in assets under management (AUM) to its coffers.

The subsidiary of global investment firm The Carlyle Group confirmed to International Investment's sister brand Professional Adviser yesterday (10 May) that around 20 of the Helm Godfrey staff included in the deal are advisers, bringing its total to 120.

All 65 Helm Godfrey employees are retained within the deal, which sees its financial planning team become part of Hurst Point Group's planning division.

Helm Godfrey will be rebranded to Argentis Group in what is expected to be a full back end, technology and rebrand transition process taking around three months.

Moving the acquired firm under the Argentis Group comes on the back of Hurst Point Group's purchase and rebrand of Harwood Wealth Management last year and its aim to bring together the different parts of the group's financial planning division into one united brand.

Location, location, location

The acquisition of Helm Godfrey - announced today (11 May) - also means Hurst Point Group has secured a much-wanted expansion into London. The deal will see it add 2,500 new clients to its books.

The national wealth manager is targeting a ‘co-location strategy' - plans to establish financial planning operations alongside its investment management operations in the towns or cities in which it establishes a presence.

Hurst Point Group managing director John White joined the business 18 months ago and told PA: "I wanted to come into somewhere and build something that could be a truly national IFA.

"If you have got a client in Harrogate or a client in Southampton, the proposition and the service is all constant. The subjects and their complexity will likely be the same, as well as all the rest of it."

White said the predominant aim for the planning arm of the business is establishing a presence in major cities, citing Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham as key locations of interest.

However, White also pointed to the strength of opportunity in financial services outside England, noting both Edinburgh and Glasgow as potential areas for growth.

Regardless of how expansion by acquisition may take shape in the future, White explained the wealth manager would always target full integration of firms it acquired.

"Clients have a slightly different need and their service and how they like to be serviced than maybe some officer versus other offices. The actual propositions service, the way we look at investments, the way we charge and so is the same."

A busy pipeline

White confirmed Hurst Point Group has "several deals in the pipeline" for this year but said the firm will be taking its time on acquisitions, focussing particularly on ensuring strong cultural alignment with prospective acquirees.

"We believe we have found a strong cultural fit in partnering with the Helm Godfrey team; that was a key consideration for us," he stated.

White told PA: "We do take our time to make sure we are bringing in businesses that are like minded and that are a cultural fit. For me, this means that everyone realises when they come in that they are going to come in, and they are going to be part of Argentis."

He added that the wealth manager's high focus on cultural fit when approaching deals had long been centre in its approach, but was particularly timely given the Financial Conduct Authority's new regulations.

"This has really given us a real head start over Consumer Duty," he said. "It was always going to be the plan but it definitely does put position as really well from that viewpoint that our proposition was in place.

"Every business that we talk to coming in knows and understands that if they do join us, then these are the promises that they commit."

Keeping busy

Today's acquisition deal follows nine acquisitions in 2022 achieved through the support of Hurst Point Group's growth backers.

The deals included its purchase of Sussex-based Metis Wealth and Metis Asset Management and advice firms D Heaton, Wealth Creation & Management, and Robinson Financial Services.

Hurst Point Group also acquired Gore Browne Investment Management in Harrogate.

White said the group will be taking its time when it comes to future deals.

"You won't see five deals in a week from us at this point," he said. "That is not our style; if we genuinely want to integrate them properly and bring them in, they will be processed over time."

Current AUA/M for the firm sat at approximately £7bn as of 31 March this year.