Manse Capital gears up for brand new era

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A YORKSHIRE-BASED financial planning firm is gearing up for expansion after undergoing a merger and rebranding.

Baxter Fensham has changed its name to Manse Capital, after moving to a new headquarters.

Karl Lavery, a wealth manager at Manse Capital, said the company was on course to grow in 2012, after receiving accreditation from a major industry body.

He added: “There’s the possibility of acquisitions, but they have to meet the right criteria. We’re not doing them for their own sake.”

Over the summer, the company, which was founded in 1996, moved from its temporary premises in Orchard House in Horsforth, near Leeds, to the former Grove Manse, which is also in Horsforth.

Grove Manse, which dates from around 1760, was originally built by a wealthy merchant to hide his divorced daughter. Mr Lavery said the name change was “triggered by the move to the Manse”, and the merger with the financial planning firm JPM, which is headed by Jon Slater.

He added: “We loved the character and history of the Grove Manse, which is probably the oldest property in Horsforth, and also recognised its potential to meet the long term needs of our growing business.”

Manse Capital, which has 14 staff, including the five directors, recorded a turnover of £940,000 in the last financial year.

The firm has become one of only 30 companies in the UK to receive Accredited Financial Planning status from the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP).

The IFP, which has more than 2,000 members, is the UK professional body for the financial planning sector.

Mr Lavery believes that a number of smaller financial planning firms will disappear or merge because they will struggle to cope with new regulations.

“We will see quite a high attrition rate of firms next year,’’ he said.

He said some of Manse Capital’s clients were concerned about the uncertain economic climate.

Mr Lavery, who has worked in the industry for 24 years, said: “If they’re running a business they are worried about shedding staff.

“They want to make sure that the businesses are making good profits so they can keep the staff and expand, which is quite hard in the current climate.

“Our typical client base tends to be aged 40 plus, with reasonably well-established wealth. They are wealth creators. They want to protect it against the various risks. They have more complex affairs, that’s our niche.”

He said clients should take a “multi-disciplinary” approach to help them through periods of stock market turmoil.

He added: “You’ve got to take the long-term view and have a good strategy.

“It’s about having the lawyer, the accountant and the financial planners working together in the same direction.

“The business is growing at about 10 per cent a year. We’re looking for that growth to become 20 per cent a year.

“Our requirement is that this growth doesn’t harm the quality of the service.

“We’re looking to expand and we’re looking to acquire other individuals to work with us in the business, but they have to have the right attitude and skills.

“We’ve been remodelling the business after undertaking the merger, and that process is still ongoing.

“The right people are hard to find, but when we find them we develop a good relationship with them.”