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29 Jan, 2008

Published: 07:00 Tuesday 29 January 2008
By: Daniel Grote, New Model News Reporter

Thinc is continuing with its ambitious expansion plans for its wealth management division by holding regular preview days for advisers interested in their proposition.

AXA-owned Thinc has made a number of approaches to advisers it is eyeing up for its wealth management division, and has invited them to spend a day at its London offices to learn about the firm.

Thinc is offering advisers a part of the company's long-term incentive scheme and its adviser annuity scheme, which provides a planned exit route, and income for life for retiring wealth managers.

A series of fortnightly Thinc wealth management preview days kicked off on 9 January, and will be held every other Wednesday through to 19 March.

Thinc wealth management directors John Abraham and Patrick Murphy are speaking at the events, together with director of investments Ian Shipway, investment team leader Louise Norman, and senior transition manager Hazel Hodge.

Hodge, who was instrumental in convincing Julie Lord of Cavendish Financial Management and Marlene Shalton of Morgan James to join Thinc last year, said firms like Thinc 'with quality senior personnel who have vision, excellent client propositions and teams of staff all working well together, will be the winners'.

Lord's decision to sell was a propaganda coup for Thinc which includes a case study of the IFP director in its presentation pack.

Lord is quoted as saying that, 'I am very happy to find that the wealth management division within Thinc works in a similar way to the way I have always worked at Cavendish'.

Shipway, who sold his business to Thinc in 2003, predicts in his profile that the advice sector will polarise between those that seek to build a profession and those that elect to remain marketing driven.

'Each is a viable choice, but the business models that will be utilised by each are very different and will require separate management and infrastructure.'

He adds: 'Thinc is the only large firm to fully understand this future and to be working towards creating an organisation capable of dealing with both ends of the spectrum.'

Among those who have received approaches from Thinc are Navigator Financial Planning, Broadway Financial Planning, Meridan Park Associates and Argyle Financial Group.

Acquisition of Cotswolds-based Broadway would further increase Thinc's presence on the Institute of Financial Planning Board, as managing director Simon Williamson is a member.

Williamson used to collaborate with Lord and Shalton in the sharing of business practices before Thinc's swoop for Cavendish and Morgan James, so the firm would likely fit Thinc's model.

But Williamson would not be drawn on the nature of discussions with Thinc.
'I've spoken to Thinc, but so have a number of people,' he said.

Meanwhile, Bruce Foskett from Meridan Park and this week's Cover Star on page 44, said he had been referred to Thinc as a possible candidate for acquisition, but the company did not meet Thinc's turnover requirement.

Thinc responded with an offer of a merger into its network, which Foskett said he is considering.

David Crozier, certified financial planner at Navigator, said he had received two Thinc approaches about recruitment to the wealth management division, but rejected them both.

'I would want more autonomy, control and input into my business than I would get at Thinc,' he said.

Argyle director Phil Melville said he was receiving calls 'every three weeks' from Thinc and was growing frustrated at continually rejecting their approaches.

One adviser approached by Thinc criticised the process the firm employed to determine its offer for the business, claiming it was too intrusive.

'The initial offer was a bit vague with no guarantees. Then they come in and do due diligence, with a computer system which churns out numbers based on various criteria they don't disclose.'

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