Sovereign Group, the Gibraltar-based independent provider of corporate, private client and retirement planning services, has acquired STM Fidecs Management Limited (FML), the Gibraltar-based trust and company management arm of STM Group.

Sovereign Group acquired the trust and company services business and the tax compliance business of STM Group for £2.45m.

Under the terms of the deal, 18 of FML's existing staff will be relocating to the new offices of Sovereign Trust and the company will be rebranded as Sovereign Fiduciary Services Limited.

The rebranded entity will trade alongside Sovereign's own trust and company management division, headed by Sovereign Trust (Gibraltar) Managing Director John Blake. The acquisition brings staff numbers on that side of the business to 54. Sovereign currently employs a further 87 staff in Gibraltar across its retirement planning, wealth management and insurance broking arms.

Commenting on the acquisition, Sovereign Group CEO Gerry Kelly said: "This acquisition of FML comes hard on the heels of our acquisition of First Rock Trustees in Gibraltar in October 2020. We expect to see further consolidation in the trust and company sector over the coming few years and Sovereign will be actively looking for other opportunities in Gibraltar and elsewhere that match our investment criteria."

"This acquisition further strengthens our position as one of the leading privately-owned private client and corporate services providers worldwide, with approaching 500 employees across a network of 23 offices. It is our intention to continue to grow our international footprint," said Kelly.

Alan Kentish, CEO of STM, commented: "We are delighted that the businesses and our colleagues that work within them, as well as our clients, have gone to a good home at Sovereign, and I am sure that there will be a smooth and seamless transition. Exiting the Gibraltar trust and company business has been a key deliverable on the Group's roadmap and will allow STM's executive management to focus on STM's core activities of pension administration and provision of life assurance wrappers.

"The release of additional cash will be utilised towards further investment in the business where necessary, as well as contributing cash resources towards our inorganic growth strategy aspirations."

STM Fidecs Management Limited is regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC), which has granted regulatory approval for the acquisition.

As part of the deal, the Sovereign Group has also acquired the Gibraltar-based tax advisory company STM Fiscalis Limited, which is to change its name to Sovereign Fiscalis Limited.