Schroders’ Benchmark buys 51% of Harrogate’s Oculus

Financial planning firm Benchmark Capital, part of Schroders Group, said it agreed to acquire a 51% shareholding in Harrogate-based Oculus Wealth Management, subject to FCA approval.

Oculus is a boutique advice network operating an appointed representative model with 26 firms and 35 advisers.

“Oculus have partnered with Benchmark since 2015, leveraging their integrated platform, practice management and client portal technology solutions to grow their client centric advice business,” said Schroders.

“The acquisition of Oculus, an existing Benchmark partner which looks after £2 billion of client assets, will provide Benchmark with a broader range of services which help advisers set up and run their own independent practices.

“The Oculus model focuses on establishing new advice firms for advisers looking for an environment in which to deliver a high-quality advice proposition.

“Their centralised adviser services extend to end-to-end provision of both business administration and regulatory support.

“Oculus will continue to focus on supporting advisers from the wealth management and private banking space to operate their business as well as those looking to establish their own practice.

“Oculus will continue to operate independently but with further support from Benchmark for the existing management team.

“This investment provides financing to accelerate Oculus’ growth while still delivering their highly regarded proposition to support advisers looking to run their own business.

“This is the next in a series of acquisitions Benchmark has made over the last five years, each partnership carefully selected with the aim of working with advisers at every stage of their journey and offering a long-term, flexible approach to both practice finance and succession planning that appreciates the range of different routes and options that are possible.”

Ed Dymott, Managing Director Wealth, Benchmark, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Oculus to Benchmark and provide the support to allow further growth and progression for an already highly successful business.

“Oculus have been incredibly successful in helping advisers who have previously worked at larger wealth managers and private banks set up their own practices, and we see this as a key growth area in the market.

“Their business-in-a-box model, bringing together Benchmark’s and Oculus services, is a compelling proposition, and we have seen great demand for this offering.

“We have known the team for several years and are excited by the potential for the future with our new partnership.”

Oculus MD Duncan Read said: “Oculus has a proven, successful business model supporting high-quality, advisers predominantly from the private banking space.

“Building on our existing partnership with Benchmark will allow us to provide even more support for our existing advisers, but also further accelerate the growth of our business over the next few years.

“This move will benefit our highly valued team of experienced advisers and give further choice and options to them with regard to their own businesses and careers.

“Benchmark offer access to financial opportunities for Oculus firms including both expansion and a succession option, thereby allowing us to assist our advisers with their complete career journeys.”