Martin Gilbert-chaired AssetCo eyes fresh deals after swoop for Edinburgh's Saracen

An investment vehicle chaired by Scottish financial services veteran Martin Gilbert is poised to announce further wealth management deals as it scales up its business.

Last month, AssetCo announced the seven-figure acquisition of Saracen, the Edinburgh-based fund management business, following other recent deals.

Releasing its half-year report, AssetCo, which is listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market, said: “The management team has been examining a number of organic and inorganic proposals and is at various stages of discussion and negotiation.

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“The focus of this work is on areas of the asset and wealth management sector where the board believes that, due to the structural changes impacting the sector, attractive opportunities for investment exist.”

Investment veteran Martin Gilbert was a co-founder and then chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management which eventually merged with Standard Life in 2017.

Gilbert said: “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.

“Over the coming months we hope to announce further activity as we roll out AssetCo’s strategy and build the business.”

The firm also announced a successful conclusion of its Grant Thornton litigation case and a return of some £26.9 million to shareholders.

AssetCo is paying a total of £2.75m in cash and shares for Saracen, which was founded in the late 1990s.

The deal follows a wave of consolidation in the sector, including the recent acquisitions of Caledonia Asset Management, Adam & Co and Cornerstone Asset Management.

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Saracen has three funds, operating on the T Bailey Fund Services platform, called Global Income and Growth Fund (with some £103m of assets under management), UK Alpha Fund (about £14m of assets), and UK Income Fund (approximately £2m of assets).

The firm operates from an office in Rutland Square and has five full-time employees, all of whom will enter new employment contracts on completion of the deal.

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Edinburgh funds firm Saracen acquired by Martin Gilbert's AssetCo in seven-figur...

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