UK – Asset manager Ashcourt Holdings is about to acquire another London-based manager Barney Wilkins & Howard (BWH). The deal will add significantly to the assets managed by Ashcourt, increasing these from 250 million pounds (361 million euros) to 350 million pounds.

Ashcourt which includes pension funds, investment funds and private individuals among its client base, is also active in pension and financial planning services. BWH, formed in 1980, provides investment management, tax planning, life and pensions services.

Ashcourt chief executive John Morton, explaining the reason for the acquisition, said the BWH client base complemented that of his group. “Bringing BWH into the Ashcourt fold will add significantly to our business, will enhance our expertise and will give us critical mass to attract additional high calibre staff to our London operation.”

He also is looking for cost savings, which will come from economies of scale and by operating back-office functions outside London. The BWH staff will move to Ashcourt’s London premises, and more staff will be recruited at the Kent-based office to handle the increased back-office work from managing the new funds.

BHW managing director John Taylor said: “As part of a larger group we will be able to offer our clients a much wider range of services within the current regulatory framework. It’s a deal which benefits all parties.”

As a result, Ashcourt subsidiary Ashcourt Pensions is being renamed Ashcourt Investment Advisers to reflect its areas of activity. Three of the BWH staff will become directors of this firm.

Ashcourt’s background is in the UK’s legal profession when the partners of law firms Brachers, based in London and Kent, and Salisbury-based Wilsons merged their respective wealth management operations into an independent company in 2000. Since then Ashcourt has acquired the investment management operations of other law firms, Blake Lapthorn in Hampshire, Lawrence Graham in London, DMH in Brighton and Hawkins Russell Jones in Hitchin.