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Wealth in the UK: Competitive Dynamics 2015

Wealth in the UK: Competitive Dynamics 2015

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Executive Summary


Since the introduction of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) in 2012, the UK wealth management competitive landscape has been undergoing a steady evolution. New business models have emerged as both new and old players seek ways to cost-effectively serve retail, mass affluent, and cost-conscious high net worth (HNW) individuals. A steady stream of direct-to-consumer (D2C) propositions have been launched in the market in 2015, ranging from simplified advice services to robo-advisor offerings and execution-only propositions. With the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and HM Treasury launching a consultation into access to advice, we believe this trend will continue into 2016 and beyond.

Key Findings

- UK wealth manager activity is concentrated in London and South East England. This is unsurprising, as these regions are home to nearly a third of all UK-based HNW individuals.

- The market leader in terms of assets under management (AUM) is St. James's Place, followed by Coutts and Barclays. The AUM of the top 20 UK wealth managers grew by around 8% year-on-year between 2013 and 2014.

- Merger and acquisition (MandA) activity has largely been driven by increasing consolidation in the independent financial advisor (IFA) segment, with competitors with acquisition-led growth strategies (such as AFH Financial Group, Attivo Group, and Bellpenny) accounting for a major share of the 2015 MandA activity.

- To reach retail and mass affluent customers a number of wealth managers are launching or developing their simplified advice service platforms. Examples include EQ Investors, Charles Stanley, Investec, and Towry.

- The advice market continues to be a key focus for the FCA, which published guidance in 2015 on boundaries

concerning regulated investment advice and is currently seeking views on how simplified advice and robo-advice could help close the advice gap.


Verdict Financial's Wealth in the UK: Market Dynamics" report is a comprehensive analysis of UK's wealth management markets.

What else does this report offer?

- Overview of the market structure by business model and client thresholds

- Competitor rankings by AUM

- Analysis of key regulations relevant to wealth managers, including: the FCA's guidance on retail investment advice, MiFID II and RDR

- Insight into the competitive landscape: MandA, new entrants, departures

- Key trends in product and service developments: new D2C propositions, mobile wealth

Reasons To Buy

- To find out the latest wealth manager rankings and benefit from the AUM data for 20 biggest competitors.

- To understand the key pieces of regulation and their impact on the wealth managers, such as MiFID II and the new guidance on simplified advice.

- To gain insight into the latest product and service trends, such as low-cost simplified advice services and wealth management apps.

Executive Summary

Key findings

Critical success factors

Market Structure

UK wealth managers use a wide range of business models

Family offices and private banks keep investment thresholds high

Wealth managers are concentrated in London and the South East

The UK's top wealth managers continue to grow their books

Discretionary investment thresholds remain stable among the top 20

Regulatory Trends

The advice market continues to be a focus of FCA regulation

The boundaries of regulated advice were clarified following FCA guidance

The FCA also launched a consultation with HM Treasury to improve access to advice

For UK wealth managers RDR has largely paved the way for MiFID II

HNW clients have welcomed fee transparency

The FCA is in the process of implementing MiFID II

The permanent non-domiciled status will be terminated in 2017

The change in non-domicile rules will have an impact on family offices

The FCA has sought to address effective and compliant communication

Wealth managers now have more guidance on social media

The FCA introduces informal steer for faster advice and a regulatory sandbox for fintech companies

More generally, the FCA is increasing accountability in the financial services sector

Business conduct and culture are key issues in encouraging compliance

New rules on whistleblowing will be launched in 2016

Firms will have increased responsibility over their staff under the Senior Managers Regime

The largest fines in 2015 were imposed for misconduct in the foreign exchange and IBOR markets

The FCA and the PRA have launched new remuneration rules to discourage excessive risk taking

Competitive Trends

M&A activity

The most notable M&A deal was St. James's Place's acquisition of Rowan Dartington

The IFA market has witnessed a significant amount of M&A activity

The sale of Coutts International was the most high profile divestment in 2015

Organic growth

Wealth managers strengthened their regional presence

New entrants comprised domestic players and new UK operations by international firms

Product and service innovation

Online investment platforms and simplified advice seek to attract cost-conscious investors

A number of new services have been launched to target the HNW and UHNW markets

Mobile wealth management remains an important area of development in 2015


Abbreviations and acronyms





Liquid assets

Mass affluent

Overall methodology

Verdict Financial's 2014 Global Wealth Managers Survey

Global Wealth Model methodology

PAM UK data

Exchange rates


Further reading

About Verdict Financial


Figure 1: Different competitor models focus on different customer segments

Figure 2: The top 20 wealth managers by total AUM are concentrated in London and the South East

Figure 3: Wealth managers' reactions are mixed when it comes to evaluating the impact of RDR

Table 1: The different types of UK onshore wealth management providers

Table 2: Competitors with the highest investment thresholds (for discretionary portfolios), 2015

Table 3: Liquid assets held and percentage of HNW clients' assets by region, 2014

Table 4: Top 20 UK wealth management firms by AUM (GBPbn), 2013-14

Table 5: Minimum investment thresholds across the top 20 competitors

Table 6: Average investment threshold of the top 20 competitors, by business model

Table 7: Fines imposed by the FCA on wealth managers

Table 8: Wealth manager acquisitions, 2015

Table 9: Bellpenny has completed 10 acquisitions so far in 2015

Table 10: Divestment activity, 2015

Table 11: Wealth managers expanded their regional reach in 2015

Table 12: A number of new companies launched in 2015

Table 13: Wealth managers are targeting wealthy clients with new services

Table 14: Pound sterling-US dollar exchange rate, December 31, 2013 and December 31, 2014

To know more information on Purchase by Section, please send a mail to query [@]

Aberdeen Asset Management


Arius Wealth

Ashton KJ Financial Planning

Aspinalls Family Office

Aviva Investors



Bessemer Trust


Brewin Dolphin

C. Hoare & Co.

Caledonia Investments

Cazenove Capital Management

Charles Stanley & Co

Citi Private Bank

City Wealth Management Independent Financial Advisers

CMB Wealth Management


Cranfield Financial Services

Credit Suisse

Creechurch Capital

Davy Private Clients


Deutsche Bank

EQ Investors

Equilibrium Asset Management

Execution Noble & Company



GLG Partners

Goldman Sachs

Hampden & Co

Hargreave Hale

Hargreaves Lansdown

Harwood Capital Management

Hassium Asset Management


Hay Hill

Holbein Partners

Holborn Assets


Intesa Sanpaolo

Investec Wealth & Investment

James Hay


John Joseph Financial Services

JP Morgan

KCJ Financial Planning


Lasenby Knox

Lily Advisory



Mattioli Woods

Merrill Lynch International

Mirabaud Investment Management

Money Farm

Monogram Capital Management


Old Mutual Wealth

Partners Capital

Principals in Practice

Quilter Cheviot


Rawson Steele IFA




Rowan Dartington




Sesame Bankhall

Share Centre

Smith & Williamson Investment Management

Soci�t� G�n�rale

St. James's Place

Standard Life

Stonehenge Investment Partners

Strawberry Invest

The Bank of New York Mellon London Branch & The Bank of New York Mellon International

TJ Financial Services

TOR Financial Advisers


Trustee Asset Management

UBS Wealth Management


Union Bancaire Priv�e

United First Partners

Walker Crips

HNW, High Net Worth, Wealth Management, Private Banking, Recruitment, Onshore, AUM, Assets Under Management, Product Development, Competitive Trends, M&A, FCA, D2C, Regulation, Platforms, MIFID, Advice, Mobile

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