Beech Tree Private Equity Announces Significant Investment In Advanta Solutions

Beech Tree Private Equity and Advanta Solutions today announce a transaction that will provide significant investment to both accelerate organic growth and to pursue a multiple acquisition strategy. Advanta Solutions is a fast-growing, multi-faceted wealth management and complementary services group. The business is centred around a market leading, customer focused Chartered Financial Planning business, Advanta Wealth, which provides its clients with holistic financial planning services, complemented by mortgage and insurance brokerage facilities within the wider group.

Advanta Solutions, with offices in both London and Glasgow, provides financial planning services for a broad spectrum of clients. The services of the Business are centred around three key pillars; the creation of wealth (lifestyle planning, cashflow modelling, regular investment and investment growth), the protection of wealth (loss of income, estate and tax planning, protection policies) and the distribution of wealth (retirement planning and estate planning).

Advanta Solutions currently employs c.60 people and consistently delivers market leading organic growth rates, with c.40% of revenues each year generated from new business as a result of a highly satisfied customer base and strong service levels. The Business has grown the assets which it manages on behalf of customers from less than £200m only three years ago to almost £500m today.

Simon Hemley and Andy Marsh from Beech Tree Private Equity have joined the board of the Advanta Group as Non-Executive Directors as part of the transaction.

Craig Webster, CEO of Advanta commented “We have built a highly successful business model that involves a corporate sales structure and is different from the rest of the industry. This ensures that we provide a very high quality of service to our customers and that we can continue to invest in the core business, maintaining and indeed improving, service levels as we grow. We intend to accelerate organic growth by recruiting several additional advisers each year who share both our focus on customer service and our growth ambitions. On the acquisition side, we believe there are c.3,000 financial advisory firms out there with principal owners either already 60 or approaching 60. We understand that retiring owners are focussed on ensuring a legacy and that their businesses can continue to prosper with both staff and customers looked after appropriately going forward. We are fully committed to doing just that and will target acquisitions with AUM of more than £50m and EBITDA of more than £250,000. We have ample firepower to transact multiple acquisitions every year”.

Commenting on Beech Tree’s investment in Advanta, Simon Hemley, Director at Beech Tree Private Equity said “finding an investment in this sector was one of the key objectives for our investment strategy in financial services. It is a growing market, but we wanted to find the right business that was growing at a faster rate than the market as well as providing the platform for an ambitious acquisition strategy. It was clear immediately that we shared the same vision as Craig Webster and his team – a two pronged growth strategy of sustainable organic growth with best in class customer service combined with acquisitions. We are very excited to be supporting Craig Webster and his management team and are delighted to invest in Advanta.”

Beech Tree Private Equity invests between £10m and £40m in any one business. Funding can be used to support management buy-outs, provide cash out to owner-managers, fund acquisitions and organic growth initiatives. Sectors include financial services, support services and technology and in all cases Beech Tree looks for platform businesses in which they can invest further to accelerate organic growth and, often, also pursue acquisition strategies.

Funders of the transaction:
Beech Tree Private Equity (Simon Hemley, Ben Cartwright, Andy Marsh)

Advisers to Beech Tree and Newco:
Financial Due Diligence – PwC Bristol (Tom Ayerst, Phil Duma, Alice Dale, Abigail Fletcher, Nirmal Lake)
Legal – DLA Piper (James Kerrigan, Christopher Wilson, Helen Tsang, Josie Millichamp)

Commercial Due Diligence – CIL (Alex Marshall, James Leonard)
Tax Due Diligence – PwC (Nick Hatton, Catherine Kay, Callum Lee)
IT Due Diligence– BCN (Faye Lisser, Stephen Griffiths)
Insurance – Bollington (Ian Muldowney)
Management Due Diligence – i2i HQ Ltd (Michael Finnigan)
Compliance Due Diligence – Compliance Advisory Services/ Bankhall

Advisers to the Company:
Legal – Shepherd Wedderburn (George Frier, Martin Cassidy).

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