Plans to merge Tilney Group Ltd. and Smith & Williamson would turn two wealth managers with more than three centuries of history into one of the largest in the U.K.
The combination would create a firm with more than 45 billion pounds ($55 billion) in assets under management, roughly the same as UBS Group AG’s U.K. wealth arm and Cazenove Capital, according to a December 2018 Citywire ranking of wealth firms.
Tilney is already the product of several tie-ups in the U.K’s fragmented wealth industry. Permira Advisers LLP bought the firm from Deutsche Bank AG in 2014 and merged it with Bestinvest Holdings. Tilney has since made further acquisitions as smaller managers sought scale in the face of mounting cost and regulatory pressures.
This latest combination, if the ongoing talks result in a a deal, would broaden Tilney’s capabilities to include tax-advice and financial-planning services. Tilney has about 24 billion pounds in assets under management, while Smith & Williamson has about 21 billion pounds.
Smith & Williamson was founded in 1881, and Tilney in 1836. Even if the transaction completes they’ll still be dwarfed by global asset managers like BlackRock Inc., which had $6.8 trillion in assets under management as of June 2019.
The talks were confirmed on Monday by both firms as well as Smith & Williamson shareholder AGF Management Ltd. The Sunday Times first reported the discussions.