Irish-based expats adviser Abbey Wealth changes hands in CEO-led buyout

Firm plans to double portfolio, targeting Irish citizens in the EU and expats in Ireland

Abbey Wealth, the Dublin-based financial advisory firm traditionally focused on British expatriates, has set its sights on doubling its current €850 million portfolio of assets under advice within five years after being subject to a management buyout.

Chief executive Victor France, who joined Abbey Wealth in 2014 and led the completion of the buyout last week, said the company plans to target Irish citizens based in the European Union, which currently account for only 30 to 40 of its 3,500 clients, as well as expatriates based in the Republic as part of the growth plan.

Mr France declined to disclose the value of the takeover of the firm, which was founded in 2007 by Adrian Grove, Calvin Thomas and Liam Speake. Abbey Wealth is chaired by Peter Oakes, a former Central Bank enforcement director and founder of Fintech Ireland, which reports the country's financial technology scene.

Abbey Wealth had historically been regulated out of Switzerland, focusing initially on offering retirement planning, investment advice and financial planning for British expatriates outside the EU.

Brexit

It has focused more under Mr France on clients based in the EU, moving in the wake of the Brexit referendum in 2016 to secure an Irish insurance intermediary licence and, in 2019, a more expansive Central Bank licence under the so-called markets in financial instruments directive.

The company has 50 employees, half of whom, including management, are based in Dublin. Its clients are mainly based in Spain, followed by France, Malta, Portugal and Cyprus.

“This buyout secures Abbey Wealth’s long-term future in an exciting and dynamic marketplace, and provides the momentum for executing new growth strategies,” said Mr France. “We’ve always been a business that has given our advice mainly remotely, which makes us a bit unusual in the financial advisory market, where advice is normally given face-to-face. Our skillset left us in a really good place when the pandemic hit.”

Mr France said he is “most excited” about prospects in the Irish market, saying there is a “real opportunity” to provide financial planning and pensions advice to the growing expatriate population in the State.

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