Paul Howard

"The biggest positive post acquisition is having the backing and support of one of the largest Chartered financial planning firms in the UK."

Paul Howard

Business highlights

post transaction
Client numbers ↑ 12%
Number of advisers & support staff Doubled*
Fee income ↑ 20%
Profitability Increased

Over three years ago, Fairstone acquired Leeds-based Howton Financial Services Here, business principal Paul Howard talks about the acquisition process and life before and after the sale.

“As a business principal, I was looking for a retirement strategy and I liked the Fairstone approach. I have worked many years in this business and I really felt that I could trust the Fairstone people,” says Paul. 

Howton, which specialised in holistic financial planning for individuals, families and business, with a focus on tax efficiency, pensions and investment, first joined Fairstone’s unique Downstream Buy Out (DBO) process in 2013 and was fully acquired by Fairstone three years later. 

People are at the heart of any business

Paul said: “The main trigger for joining Fairstone was that when we talked about the acquisition, Fairstone said that they wanted me to stay on as they weren’t just buying my business, they were buying the relationships that I had built and maintained over many years.

“That really meant a lot to me as I have always believed that relationships and people are at the heart of any business.” 

Fairstone’s unique DBO acquisition model operates by integrating an IFA firm, typically over a two-year period, before finally acquiring the business, enabling both firms to fully align in terms of culture and systems as well as empowering the business owners to optimise their capital realisation and control their sale valuation. 

Paul added that the DBO proposition was one of the deciding factors for the firm joining Fairstone. 

Huge support

“From a personal perspective the integration journey has exceeded my expectations. I had huge support from Fairstone which reaffirmed that I had made the right decision,” said Paul. 

“The biggest challenges have been changes within the industry really, rather than anything from Fairstone. In general, this has made it harder to continue to deliver the level of service clients have been used to. Fairstone has helped to support that process.” 

Confidence 

Paul added: “The biggest positive post acquisition is having the backing and support of one of the largest Chartered financial planning firms in the UK. 

“That gives you so much confidence having that support. Also Fairstone’s profile has grown and the company is becoming increasingly respected within the sector.” 

Countrywide, Fairstone is seeing an 15% out performance across its entire portfolio of acquired businesses, which means the firms it is acquiring are delivering more revenue, profits and growth than either their forecasts or buy out agreements are based on. 

“Business has definitely grown in line with that and we have had a lot of support from Fairstone through many avenues such as HR and their regulatory framework,” added Paul. 

“Fairstone also host a range of fantastic events which are great for bringing everyone together.” 

Fairstone family 

Paul added: “The Fairstone ethos and attitude internally and externally fits in with the way I have always tried to run my business. Fairstone has offered a comfortable opportunity for my business. 

“Joining Fairstone has really helped me to realise my goal of starting to wind down into a semi-retired position, while still being involved in the business. That is so important to me. I really do feel part of the Fairstone family.” 

DBO