finance

Martin Gilbert's AssetCo reveals £30.9 million spending plans



AssetCo has revealed plans to spend £30m on the wealth and fund management market.

The firm, which is chaired by former Standard Life Aberdeen joint chief executive, is preparing to make further acquisitions having collected £30.9m to fund its asset and wealth management strategy.

The funding came from the litigation rewards it received against accountant firm Grant Thornton, which was split returning £26.9m to shareholders.

In a trading update on 28 June, it confirmed that it was successful conclusion in its litigation against Grant Thornton which was held liable for negligence when it failed to expose a fraud at AssetCo.

AssetCo based in Aberdeen received £57.8m in litigation awards and cost in the period.

The firm reported pre-tax profits in its half year results at £22.3m, which is up from a loss of £700,000 last year.

However, in the six months to 31 March this year, it still reported a revenue of nil, unchanged from last year.

The net assets of the company had increased from £28.4m to £31.1m in March 2021. The company credits this to the recent investment in River and Mercantile Group.

It holds 5.85% of the issued equity share capital. It acquired £10.4m to acquire 5m shares in the company in January and February this year.

The company then acquired Edinburgh based Saracen Fund Managers for £2.75m and then went on to hire Gary Collins from Columbia Threadneedle to lead the development of Saracen’s fund business.

Gilbert revealed the firm has been examining a number of organic and inorganic proposals and is at various stages of discussion and negotiation.

He is expecting to announce some of the acquisitions being made soon.

Martin Gilbert, chairman of AssetCo, commented: “Our new business strategy, approved by shareholders in April, is to invest in, build and operate asset and wealth management businesses. The financial services sector is facing numerous challenges, but the importance of the industry in enabling clients and customers to achieve their financial goals is even greater.

“We believe AssetCo can play a key role by investing in, supporting and developing businesses to meet the needs of investors. Our investment in River and Mercantile Group and our conditional acquisition of Saracen Fund Managers are part of this thinking.”

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