Sanlam is to streamline its business in the UK and is considering merging its Sanlam Private Investments (SPI) arm and Sanlam UK brands.
SPI chief executive Craig Massey (pictured) told Investment Week Sanlam UK – which is based in Bristol and offers advisory, wealth management and pensions services – is very similar to the larger SPI business which operates alongside it.
As such, he said there is a possibility the two businesses could be merged at some stage, although no timescale is in place.
“We run SPI and Sanlam UK and I think it would make sense that we end up with a single company brand and identity so there is no confusion in the marketplace,” he said. “When you have a business built in silos, there can be turf wars.”
The group is planning to review its back-office functions if it opts to push ahead with the merger, in a bid to simplify the structure for investors.
However, the group declined to comment on whether this would lead to job cuts.
“The front end will come last, once we are happy that we are able to pull the back offices together,” Massey added.
Parent company Sanlam – the South African insurer - entered the UK market in 2008 via the acquisition of Principal Investment Holdings, which had a string of offices across the country.
Principal was rebranded as SPI last year, and Sanlam has made a number of bolt-on acquisitions across the company as part of ambitious plans to expand nationally.
SPI is hoping to open further offices across the UK in what Massey described as a “satellite” strategy, with administration and back office services run from a central base, and investment managers in regional offices closer to clients.
This strategy will help make national expansion affordable, at a time when other wealth managers, such as Brewin Dolphin, have been closing or merging smaller branches.
“We need to grow on a local basis where we have someone on the ground. But it is not a full administration office – we want to build satellites,” he said.
Since 2008, SPI’s assets under management have grown from £600m to £2.2bn, but Massey said while he is pleased with asset growth so far, the group must do more to establish better relationships with advisers.
“Where we have been less successful is making a strong indentation in to the UK investment business, so we need to build our introducer base,” he said.
“That is about building our profile.”
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