Openwork has acquired 2plan Wealth Management for an undisclosed sum as the multi-tie network moves to develop a stronger proposition to whole of market advisers.
The deal, which remains subject to FSA approval, will see Openwork acquire 100% of the shares of the national IFA, including the 15% owned by Standard Life.
Leeds-based 2plan's 205 registered individuals join Openwork's 2,500 advisers operating through appointed representative firms, although the two businesses will be run separately.
2plan will retain its own brand and management team, which includes CEO Chris Smallwood and managing director Chris Davies.
Smallwood stresses there will be no job losses at 2plan as a result of the deal.
Whole of market advisers joining Openwork will work under the 2plan banner while Openwork advisers will operate under the FSA's ‘restricted' label.
Neither party would reveal costs relating to the acquisition, but the deal has written off about £9m of debt 2plan still had to clear with Standard Life.
Openwork, which is owned, via ordinary shares, by its advisers (67.5%), employees (7.5%) and Zurich Financial Services (25%), will create, and own, a separate holding company above 2plan called Openwork Independent Solutions Ltd.
Smallwood and Davies will own a combined 25% of the new company and sit on the board alongside Openwork CEO Martin Davis.
2plan was launched in 2007 and, according to Smallwood, was on target to break into profit next year. The national IFA's turnover for H1 2010 reached £5.7m, up from £3.5m for the same period last year.
Employees involved in the company's share scheme will be given back the face value of their holdings and given the chance to enroll in Openwork's equivalent scheme.
Smallwood says he and managing director Davies had considered making the company available for acquisition late last year.
"Chris [Davies] and I were thinking our future strategy may not be in the same direction as Standard Life's, which has since mentioned it will look more at going direct to consumer in the future.
"We looked at part and whole ownership and wanted no debt going forward as the Openwork deal has written off around £9m of debt still existing with Standard Life.
"We think our advisers are looking at financial stability and the benefits of being with larger distributors."
Openwork's Davis said it was no secret the business was interested in an IFA arm to sit alongside its multi-tie operations, but said it did not want to build its own proposition from scratch.
"We now have a clear strategy for advisers if they wish to move to a restricted or an IFA model post-RDR. They will have a home with us.
"A number of larger firms may wish to split their advisers post RDR between whole of market and restricted and this will give them that option.
"2plan is a very strong brand and we have no intention of changing that and it will be run as a separate entity."
He said a strong attraction of 2plan was its technology capabilities with its self-built software track record in building management systems and transactional platforms.
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