Fairstone partner with Imagine Financial Planning and Forbes Lawson Wealth Management under its DBO programme


16 December 2021



Fairstone, which incorporates one of the UK’s largest Chartered financial planning firms, today announce that it has signed up two new firms to its unique Downstream Buy Out (DBO) programme.

Imagine Financial Planning and Forbes Lawson Wealth Management have joined Fairstone through its DBO acquisition programme, increasing the firm’s strategic footprint in Yorkshire and Scotland and bolstering Fairstone’s growth plan for 2021.

The two deals bring more than 700 clients, four advisers and five support staff to the wider business as well as funds under management of around £200m.

Fairstone’s proprietary DBO acquisition model is built on supporting sector leaders in growing their businesses to optimise their capital value, prior to final acquisition.

During the integration phase, Partner firms are supported to optimise their business performance and fulfil their growth aspirations before crystallising a structured sale of their business at a premium valuation. This unique proposition enables IFA firms to benefit from growth both before and after acquisition and on average the firms Fairstone has acquired receive 111% of their total earn-out value.

These latest deals with Imagine Financial Planning and Forbes Lawson Wealth Management mark the start of the phased pre-acquisition process, which will enable both firms to fully align with Fairstone in terms of culture and systems, whilst also taking advantage of the regulatory, technical and operational support that Fairstone provides.

Imagine Financial Planning is based in Harrogate and Forbes Lawson Wealth Management is based in Aberdeen, with both firms specialising in pension planning and investment management.

Fairstone CEO Lee Hartley said: “We are delighted to welcome Imagine Financial Planning and Forbes Lawson Wealth Management into our Downstream Buy Out programme. The teams at Imagine Financial Planning and Forbes Lawson Wealth Management share our ambition and commitment to building quality long-term client relationships, making them an excellent fit for Fairstone.

“Fairstone’s proposition gives firms the framework, funding and support they need to significantly grow their businesses, without compromising on client service or independence. We look forward to working with the teams at Imagine Financial Planning and Forbes Lawson Wealth Management through our DBO programme to optimise the growth of their businesses and support them to realise their full potential.”

Fairstone is a full-service wealth management house delivering integration-led growth and its unique DBO approach ensures that companies are fully-integrated with Fairstone prior to final acquisition, ensuring a seamless transition for clients and staff.

Company principals at Forbes Lawson Wealth Management, Ian Robinson and Richard Macmillan, said that being part of a larger organisation allows them to address the challenges of dealing with increasing regulatory change, while at the same time continuing to deliver a first class service to their clients.

Ian Robinson added: “Fairstone is aligned with our ethics, ethos and client focus. This is a very positive step forward for our business, providing us with long-term stability in a rapidly changing marketplace which ensures that we can continue to deliver a great service to our clients as part of the Fairstone Group.

“We are pleased to have found an established firm with very similar standards to ours that will help us build and continue our high service levels. The great thing about Fairstone is that we can continue to focus on our clients whilst they take care of everything else.”

Company principals at Imagine Financial Planning, Paul Woods and Nigel Woods, said that the prospect of being part of a larger organisation and the potential to create further growth, were deciding factors in partnering with Fairstone.

Paul Woods added: “We have taken the decision to join Fairstone to be part of a bigger group that is committed to independent financial advice and first-class client service. Partnering with Fairstone will give us the opportunity to really take our business forward.”

Nigel Woods added: “The Fairstone proposition appealed as we were impressed by the professional ethos of the business, the firm’s commitment to independent advice and also the structured succession planning.”

Fairstone’s DBO programme continues to be a core driver of growth for the business, reversing the traditional buy and build approach, with integration playing the leading role in a firm joining the programme.

Fairstone CEO Lee Hartley added: “We are always looking for strong, high quality businesses with ambitious development plans to join Fairstone. The strength of our DBO programme is demonstrated in the fact that all the firms we have gone on to acquire have received at least 100% of their premium sale value and many achieving much more, consolidating our position as a secure, stable and proven acquirer within the sector.”

Headquartered in Newcastle, Fairstone is the number one ranked wealth management firm on Trustpilot with over 40,000 wealth clients and operates nationally across 42 locations.

Speak to our M&A team to find out more about how our unique acquisition model could work for you.

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