STANDARD Life’s financial planning and advice arm 1825 has acquired the wealth advisory unit of Grant Thornton UK, its largest acquisition to date.

The move increases its assets under advice by more than 40% to £5.8 billion.

The company said that with more than 100 employees, including 34 financial planners, it was a significant step in becoming one of the UK’s leading advice providers.

Led by Neil Messenger, Grant Thornton’s wealth advisory team offers advice on all aspects of financial planning including family and business finance.

As well as the UK-wide financial planning team, it has two client support centres in Belfast and Sheffield, bringing a range of specialisms and expertise that will enhance the 1825 business.

The deal is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of this year, but the terms of the transaction are undisclosed.

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Julie Scott, 1825’s CEO, said: “Demand for high-quality financial planning and advice continues to grow and with over 110 financial planners we will be well-placed to help more people access advice. I was delighted when Grant Thornton approached us with the idea. We are very much aligned with our shared desire to offer the best quality advice to our clients.”

Grant Thornton CEO, Dave Dunckley, added: “As we increase our focus on our strategy to provide high-quality audit, tax and advisory services to our core markets, it is clear the wealth advisory team’s growth potential would be best delivered by a business focused solely on the financial advice market.

“The team’s clients will undoubtedly be better served through 1825’s approach and proposition, with the businesses sharing a natural alignment in values and goals, so it makes practical sense for the team to be in an environment in which it can flourish. We wish Neil and the team continued success.”