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Financial institutions M&A: Sector trends - September 2021

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September 2021

We highlight the key European M&A trends in the first half of 2021, and provide our insights into the outlook for M&A moving forward.

Introduction

As COVID-19 lockdowns and travel bans across Europe end, so too does the hiatus of European financial services M&A. With M&A surging to levels not seen since the fabled heyday of the 1990s, 2021 promises a bull market of extraordinary proportions.

In this edition, bring you the key deal highlights and M&A trends across Europe and the UK. Focusing on Banks, Fintech and Other Financial Services, we also provide our insights on the outlook for M&A in H2 2021 and beyond. 

Key highlights from H1 2021 include the following:

  • Banks: As the COVID-19 hiatus of bank consolidation activity ends, European bank M&A 
    consolidation activity reaches unprecedented levels.
  • Fintech: E-commerce and online financial services experienced exponential growth during 
    the COVID-19 pandemic. The significance of digital offerings, and the RegTech
    tools to safeguard institutions and customers, has never been more apparent. 
    Europe's unicorns are at full gallop towards the digital future.
  • Asset/Wealth Management: Market consolidation continues at a feverish pace. The UK tops the 
    leader board, notching up 17 noteworthy deals in H1 2021
  • Payments: The COVID-19 pandemic drove e-commerce to levels never seen 
    before—payment rail, service and solution providers responded with 
    an unprecedented flurry of M&A activity
  • Stock Exchanges/Clearing Houses/Trading Venues: Global FMI juggernauts snatch up fund platforms, trading venues 
    and data analytics providers, under the increasingly vigilant gaze of 
    European competition authorities
  • Brokers/Corporate Finance: Financial advisers turn to M&A to deliver additional bandwidth, 
    capability and resources to ride the post-lockdown M&A tidal wave
  • Consumer Finance: Hyper-specialisation of the European consumer finance market 
    continues, with POS, entrepreneur, freelancer, migrant and payroll 
    finance businesses securing growth capital in H1 2021
  • Specialty Finance/Marketplace Lending: M&A levels dipped in H1 2021. Whilst institutional banks backed 
    trade and B2B finance platforms and VC supported P2P, SME and 
    treasury finance disruptors, both investor categories required 
    convincing to part with cash

M&A Forecast legend

European financial services M&A trends

Domestic banking champions across Europe merge, blinking into the sunlight

As the COVID-19 hiatus of bank consolidation activity ends, European bank M&A consolidation activity reaches unprecedented levels.

pillar

Europe’s unicorns come of age—COVID-19 lockdowns drive customer familiarity, utilisation and reliance on fintech

E-commerce and online financial services experienced exponential growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The significance of digital offerings, and the RegTech tools to safeguard institutions and customers, has never been more apparent. Europe’s unicorns are at full gallop towards the digital future.

unicorn statue

Asset/Wealth Management

Market consolidation continues at a feverish pace. The UK tops the leader board, notching up 17 noteworthy deals in H1 2021

stock market

Payments

The COVID-19 pandemic drove e-commerce to levels never seen before—payment rail, service and solution providers responded with an unprecedented flurry of M&A activity

vault

Stock Exchanges/Trading Venues

Global FMI juggernauts snatch up fund platforms, trading venues and data analytics providers, under the increasingly vigilant gaze of European competition authorities

stock market

Brokers/Corporate Finance

Financial advisers turn to M&A to deliver additional bandwidth, capability and resources to ride the post-lockdown M&A tidal wave

stock market

Consumer Finance

Hyper-specialisation of the European consumer finance market continues, with POS, entrepreneur, freelancer, migrant and payroll finance businesses securing growth capital in H1 2021

unicorn statue

Specialty Finance/ Marketplace Lending

M&A levels dipped in H1 2021. Whilst institutional banks backed trade and B2B finance platforms and VC supported P2P, SME and treasury finance disruptors, both investor categories required convincing to part with cash

vault
stock market

Financial institutions M&A: Asset/Wealth Management

Financial institutions M&A sector trends: asset/wealth management — H1 2021 and outlook for H2 2021

Insight
|
8 min read

Market consolidation continues at a feverish pace. The UK tops the leader board, notching up 17 noteworthy deals in H1 2021.

 

Overview

CURRENT MARKET

  • Consistent activity levels

WE ARE SEEING

  • Market consolidation:
    • Middle-sized asset/wealth management deals (e.g., Amundi's acquisition of Lyxor)
    • Smaller asset/wealth management deals (e.g., Titan Wealth's acquisition of Tavistock Wealth and Global Prime Partners)
  • UK consolidates at a feverish pace—concentration of smaller deals (>17 smaller deals in H1 2021)
  • Banks adopt differing strategies:
    • Scaling-up operations (e.g., Aktia's acquisition of Taaleri's wealth management business)
    • Re-deploying capital resources (e.g., Crédit Agricole's disposal of Indosuez Wealth Management)
    • Focus on wealth concentrations in emerging economies
  • Specialist asset management sub-sector consolidation

KEY DRIVERS/CHALLENGES

  • COVID-19 plagues traditional models:
    • Increasing regulatory pressure—true burden of MiFID II implementation becomes increasingly stark (e.g., UK considers overhauling MiFID II)
    • Rising technology costs to combat growing reporting needs, AML risks and cyber-attack sophistication
    • Increasing fee compression as DIY options gain market prevalence
  • Scaling-up in specialist asset management:
    • Financial planning (e.g., Flexpoint Ford's acquisition of AFH Financial)
    • Fund platform (e.g., Euroclear's acquisition of MFEX Group)
    • Trust administration (e.g., Ocorian's acquisition of Nordic Trustee)
    • Credit fund (e.g., Cairn Capital's acquisition of Bybrook Capital)
    • Capital markets administration (e.g., Sanne Group's acquisition of Strait Capital)
  • Growing focus on WealthTech and robo-advisory:
    • Established players plan for the future
    • WealthTech players stockpile growth capital (e.g., Scalable Capital, Tifin, WealthArc, Elinvar and Wealthpilot all successfully raised capital in H1 2021)

TRENDS TO WATCH

  • Heating up of transatlantic consolidation activity (e.g., Ameriprise's acquisition of BMO's European asset management business)
  • Increasing ambition to tap public capital (e.g., Pensionbee's LSE IPO and Allfunds' Euronext Amsterdam IPO)
  • Growing investor appetite for ESG offerings

OUR M&A FORECAST

 

Market consolidation to continue at a feverish pace as smaller and medium-sized asset/wealth managers come under increasing pressure. Larger managers prepare for the future through increased focus on WealthTech.

 

Asset/Wealth Management—Publicly reported deals & situations

Market consolidation

Despite COVID-19, deal-making has raged on. Figures show that 2020 was a buoyant year for asset management M&A activity, with a record 122 deals taking place in the UK. Financial News (June 2021)

The UK's IFA space is tipped to see larger-scale M&A as well as some IPOs over the medium term as it continues to consolidate amid an influx of private capital. Mergermarket (April 2021)
Deal-hungry buyout groups are hunting across the investment industry, with Blackstone, KKR, General Atlantic, Stone Point and Thomas H Lee acquiring asset or wealth management businesses in the past 12 months. Financial Times (March 2021)

M&A across the investment industry almost tripled in 2020. Deals involving asset and wealth managers rose from US$13.6 billion in 2019 to US$38.9 billion in 2020. Financial Times (March 2021)

There were a record number of mergers and acquisitions in the asset management sector in 2020. Activists like Nelson Peltz and John Paulson are agitating for deals. Financial Times (January 2021)

Deal highlight:

White & Case advised Catella, a leading specialist in property investments and fund management in Europe, on the sale of a majority stake in Catella Asset Management to Arkéa Investment Services.

Deal highlight:

White & Case advised Sinara Financial on its acquisition of UK investment management business Elbrus Capital Partners.

Deal highlight:

White & Case advised the Meeschaert Group on the sale of its private banking and asset management activities to La Financière Patrimoniale d'Investissement.

Mid-sized:

  • Amundi (France): Acquisition of Lyxor (June 2021)
  • PineBridge Benson Elliot (UK): Acquisition of Sigma Capital Group (June 2021)
  • Altamar Capital (Germany): Acquisition of CAM Alternatives (June 2021)
  • LFPI (France): Acquisition of Meeschaert (April 2021)

Smaller:

  • Sinara Financial (UK): Acquisition of Elbrus Capital Partners (June 2021)
  • Vontobel (UK): Acquisition of remaining 40% of TwentyFour Asset Management (June 2021)
  • Rathbone Brothers (UK): Acquisition of Saunderson House Group (June 2021)
  • Tavistock Investments (UK): Acquisition of Chater Allan Financial Services' business (June 2021)
  • Titan Wealth Holdings (UK): 
    Acquisition of Tavistock Wealth (June 2021)
  • Titan Wealth Holdings (UK): 
    Acquisition of Global Prime Partners (June 2021)
  • JTC (UK): 
    Acquisition of INDOS Financial (June 2021)
  • Savills Investment Management (UK): 
    Acquisition of 75% stake of DRC Capital (May 2021)
  • Fairstone Group (UK): Acquisition of Sterling Asset Management (May 2021)
  • Avison Young (France): Acquisition of Cassian (May 2021)
  • Mattioli Woods (UK): Acquisition of Ludlow Wealth Management Group (May 2021)
  • Raymond James (UK): Acquisition of Cebile Capital (May 2021)
  • Alpha Financial (UK): Acquisition of Lionpoint Holdings (May 2021)
  • AssetCo (UK): Acquisition of Saracen Fund Managers (May 2021)
  • Commencer Capital (Australia): Acquisition of IEC Funds Management (May 2021)
  • Canaccord Genuity Group (UK): Acquisition of Adam & Co's private client investment management business (April 2021)
  • Azimut (Brazil): Acquisition of MZK Investimentos (March 2021)
  • Aktia (Finland): Acquisition of Taaleri's wealth management business (March 2021)
  • Preservation Capital (UK): Acquisition of Parmenion Capital Partners (March 2021)
  • Alantra (Spain): Acquisition of 40% of MCH Investment Strategies (March 2021)
  • VERSO Capital & ALDINI Capital (Luxembourg): Merger (February 2021)
  • Arkéa Investment Services (France): Acquisition of majority stake in Catella Asset Management (January 2021)
  • Carneo (Sweden): Acquisition of 70% of Holberg (January 2021)
  • RJAMI (France): Acquisition of 57% of Raymond James Asset Management International (January 2021)

 

Differing FI prerogatives

China's wealth market was worth US$18.9 trillion in 2020, up 10% from a year earlier. Foreign asset managers are rushing to capitalise on China's vast pool of savings as the government liberalises its tightly controlled financial system. Financial Times (May 2021)

Tag-out (disposals):

  • Société Générale (France): Disposal of Lyxor (June 2021)
  • Millennium BCP (Switzerland): Disposal of Swiss private banking arm (June 2021)
  • Commercial Bank Modulbank (Russia): Disposal of Vostochny Capital (May 2021)
  • HSBC (Saudi Arabia): Disposal of Saudi Arabian asset management business (May 2021)
  • Banca Agricola Popolare di Ragusa (Italy): Disposal of Finanza Sud Sim (May 2021)
  • Crédit Agricole (Brazil): Disposal of Crédit Agricole's Brazilian wealth management business (April 2021)
  • NatWest (UK): Disposal of Adam & Co's private client investment management business (April 2021)
  • Crédit Agricole (US): Disposal of Indosuez Wealth Management (March 2021)
  • Taaleri (Finland): Disposal of Finnish wealth management business (March 2021)
  • Standard Life Aberdeen (UK): Disposal of Parmenion Capital Partners (March 2021)
  • Natixis (UK): Disposal of majority stake in H2O (January 2021)

Tag-in (acquisitions):

  • Union Bancaire Privée (Switzerland): Acquisition of Millennium BCP's Swiss private banking business (June 2021)
  • Sovcombank (Russia): Acquisition of Vostochny Capital (May 2021)
  • The Saudi British Bank (Saudi Arabia): Acquisition of HSBC Saudi Arabia's asset management business (May 2021)
  • Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy): Acquisition of Finanza Sud Sim (May 2021)
  • Banco Safra (Brazil): Acquisition of Crédit Agricole's Brazilian wealth management business (April 2021)
  • UBS (Brazil): Acquisition of 40% of Consenso (April 2021)
  • Santander (US): Acquisition of Indosuez Wealth Management (March 2021)
     
  • Aktia (Finland): Acquisition of Taaleri's wealth management business (March 2021

 

Financial planning M&A

  • Flexpoint Ford: Acquisition of AFH Financial (June 2021)
  • Oreana Group: Acquisition of Grant Thornton's Australian private wealth business (April 2021)

 

Fund platform M&A

  • Deutsche Börse: Acquisition of 48.8% of Clearstream Fund Centre (May 2021)
  • Euroclear: Acquisition of MFEX Group (March 2021)
  • HPS Investment Partners: Acquisition of Bardin Hill's European CLO business (March 2021)
  • ACOLIN: Acquisition of Fundbase (February 2021)

 

Trust administration M&A

Deal highlight:

White & Case advised Ocorian, the Inflexion-backed global trust and administration business, on the financing and management incentive programme of its acquisition of Nordic Trustee.

  • Ocorian: Acquisition of Nordic Trustee (June 2021)
  • Mattioli Woods: Acquisition of Exempt Property Unit Trust (January 2021)

 

Credit fund M&A

  • Cairn Capital Group: Acquisition of Bybrook Capital (February 2021)
  • GetBack: Acquisition of Dogmat Systemy (January 2021)

 

CapMarkets/fund administration services M&A:

Deal highlight:

White & Case advised Ocorian, the Inflexion-backed global trust and administration business, on the financing and management incentive programme of its acquisition of Emphasys Technologies.

  • Sanne Group: Acquisition of Strait Capital (April 2021)
  • ZEDRA: Acquisition of BFCS (March 2021)
  • Ocorian: Acquisition of Emphasys Technologies (March 2021)

 

High investor appetite

Financial sponsors (acquisitions):

  • GTCR and Reverence Capital: Acquisition of Wells Fargo’s asset management division (February 2021)

Financial sponsors (equity investments):

  • Sovereign Capital Partners: £55 million investment in Skerritts (March 2021)
  • Vitruvian Partners: €100 million investment in Carne Group (January 2021)
  • ToscaFund Asset Management: Participation in €25 million Series C funding round for Elinvar (January 2021)
  • Seventure: Participation in €8 million Series A funding round for Wealthpilot (January 2021)

Foreign investors:

  • Ameriprise Financial: Acquisition of BMO Financial Group’s European asset management business (April 2021)
  • Nuveen: Acquisition of Glenmont Partners (January 2021)

Market appetite:

  • Pensionbee: London Stock Exchange IPO (April 2021)
  • Allfunds: Euronext Amsterdam IPO (April 2021)

Insurers:

  • Aegon: Acquisition of Pension Geeks (April 2021)
  • Utmost Group: Acquisition of Quilter International (April 2021)

 

Digitalisation marches on

Nutmeg surpassed £3 billion in AuM following a record 72% year-on-year growth. Finextra (April 2021)

Traditional wealth managers have been among the slowest parts of the finance industry to embrace fintech, with their ultra-wealthy clients preferring the personal touch of silver-service chatbot financial advice. Financial Times (January 2021)

Established players plan for the future:

  • Alter Domus: Acquisition of Investors Economic Assurance (June 2021)
  • Azimut Holding: Acquisition of Epic’s fintech and alternative finance structuring division (February 2021)

WealthTechs stockpile growth capital:

  • Scalable Capital: Successful €150 million Series E funding round, led by Tencent (June 2021)
  • WealthArc: Successful US$4 million Seed funding round, led by The Next Impact (February 2021)
  • Elinvar: Successful €25 million Series C funding round, led by ToscaFund Asset Management (January 2021)
  • Wealthpilot: Successful €8 million Series A funding round, led by Seventure (January 2021)

 

Click here to download 'Financial services M&A reaches dizzying heights as COVID-19 lockdowns and travel bans come to an end' PDF

 

 

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