The City & Capital Group is preparing for significant growth in 2021, following the launch of a fixed fee recruitment proposition for financial planning and wealth management firms, a new M&A Partner service for vendors, and two key hires.

The Yorkshire-based financial services consultancy will make the hiring process within the profession more affordable and transparent via a new, fixed fee model.

In a bid to tackle the mounting advice gap within the sector, newly appointed head of recruitment Robert Marchini and recruiter Adam Massie will spearhead the new initiative – while also working closely with organisations to encourage new advisers into the industry.

The group’s mergers and acquisitions division, meanwhile, has reinvested heavily into re-shifting the balance of power to the seller – launching a new proposition, designed to better prepare firms for sale.

This vendor-focused service seeks to instil confidence in sellers and open a much wider portfolio of potential buyers – ensuring introductions are not just financially aligned, but culturally, too.

“In the world of financial advisory mergers and acquisitions, the traditional broker model often doesn’t reflect the interests of the vendors,” explained Victoria Hicks, group director at City & Capital Acquisitions. “There is too much emphasis placed on the number and value of deals completed, which is certainly no reflection on the success of such acquisitions.

“As a chartered financial planner – and having been party to both sides of an acquisition — I’ve experienced first-hand what the process is like. It’s vital that our industry has a real sense of conscience and puts what’s best for those involved above all else.”

The City & Capital Group is steadfast in the belief that vendors are the most important party in the transaction, as Victoria continued: “Our clients are often selling their life’s work – and valued relationships – to someone new. Therefore, it’s vital they are accurately represented, and feel fully supported from start to finish.

“Ordinarily, brokers receive their fees from the acquirers, which means vendors often assume the service they are receiving is free, when in fact a broker fee will frequently be factored into any commercial offer made on the part of the acquirer.”

Explaining why an acquirer paying proposition may not be appropriate for some vendors, Victoria concluded: “This approach means vendors may only be introduced to acquirers who have signed a broker’s terms of business. This, in turn, could lead to suitable parties being overlooked for not agreeing terms.

“Our vendor proposition enables our clients to access any firm with an acquisitive appetite, providing the most extensive range of buyer options in the market – something which is particularly important in the middle-market space, as local vendors often prefer to be acquired by a strong local firm with a similar culture. I know these acquirers also often feel overlooked by the broker market in favour of larger national acquirers. While it may be right for some, this isn’t right for all.

“That’s why we have created an alternative proposition, whereby sellers can elect to pay our fees for assisting them to prepare for sale, managing the full process and successfully selling their businesses. Our fees are fair and provide clear value, and we will never, ever receive a fee from both parties. Ultimately, where we represent our vendors our fees reflect that. There is no ambiguity.”