By Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro and Amy-Jo Crowley
LONDON (Reuters) – Canaccord Genuity has explored a potential acquisition of Close Brothers Group’s wealth management operations, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters, a move that would increase the Canadian group’s presence in the UK.
Canaccord, which offers investment banking and wealth management services, was among the final bidders in an auction process run by Goldman Sachs, one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
Reuters could not establish whether Canaccord’s interest in the business, known as Close Brothers Asset Management, is still live.
There is no certainty that a transaction will materialise, the people also said.
Close Brothers and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. David Esfandi, CEO of Canaccord’s UK wealth arm, reached by telephone, declined to comment.
Such a deal would be another example of consolidation in the UK’s fragmented wealth management industry, driven by both corporates and financial investors.
Last month, Canadian pension fund OTPP struck a deal to acquire British wealth manager 7IM.
Royal Bank of Canada acquired London-listed Brewin Dolphin last year in an effort to bulk up its international wealth management footprint.
Bloomberg first reported Close Brothers’ plans to offload its wealth management division in July.
The business, which provides financial planning and investment management services, increased managed assets by 7% to more than 16 billion pounds ($19.3 billion) in the year to July 31 2023, reflecting net inflows, based on its latest annual report.
However, it reported a 27% drop in adjusted operating profit, driven by lower income and hiring costs.
Canaccord has sought to grow its UK wealth management arm via acquisitions. In 2021, it brought in private equity group HPS Investment Partners to support the unit’s expansion.
HPS declined to comment.
($1 = 0.8273 pounds)
(Reporting by Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro and Amy-Jo Crowley in London; Editing by Anousha Sakoui and Jane Merriman)