A Birmingham professional services firm has announced pensions giant Standard Life is to become a minority shareholder in the firm’s Financial Management business.

RSM Bentley Jennison Financial Management – the division through which RSM Bentley Jennison delivers pensions, protection and wealth management advice to its clients – has a significant strength in the Midlands with more than 40 team members based in Birmingham, Halesowen and Milton Keynes. The team has grown both organically and through the successful acquisitions; the most notable of which being Midlands’ Giles Financial Services in November 2007 and Chancery Group in May 2008.

Alan Webb, regional managing partner of RSM, said: “The investment from Standard Life has not changed our existing growth strategy but it allows us to accelerate it considerably and is third party endorsement that our approach is one worthy of support from such a credible organisation.”

And managing director John White, who is also a partner in the main practice, added: “We are delighted to have attracted such a respected corporate partner and are looking forward to working with Standard Life to develop one of the UK’s leading financial management businesses.”

RSM has a fee income in excess of £8.5million and employs more than 90 people over 13 sites, making it the UK’s fifth-largest financial management division of an accounting-based firm.

Standard Life recently had to reassure customers about its ability to withstand market turmoil as the global economic instability continued to deepen.

About two million long-term savers with Standard Life are set to see their payouts reduced after the insurer cut final bonuses as stock market values plummet. The company said it was introducing stricter penalties for policyholders who wanted to cash-in their pensions and investments early.

The FTSE 100 Index has lost a significant value since August as spooked investors headed for the exit.

The Edinburgh-based firm’s capital buffer fell by £100million to £3.4 billion in the three months to September 30, but it said that it could ride out a further 40 per cent fall in the stock markets.

Stephen Ingledew, director of distribution strategy at Standard Life, said about the deal: “This investment represents another important step in the ongoing development of our business and we are delighted to be joining forces with RSM BJFM.

“Given the quality of their proposition and management team, we view this as an exciting opportunity to work closely with them to support the growth and development of their business. Over the next few years we expect to see significant developments in the UK distribution landscape and believe this investment will leave us well-placed to benefit from future change.”

This year, Jennison has been one of the UK’s fastest-growing professional services firms. In May, it acquired troubled Birmingham accountants Wenham Major, which went into administration after financial difficulty.

The Jennison deal saw the company take possession of Wenham Major’s core audit, accounting and tax compliance businesses. About 30 of Wenham Major’s employees transferred to Jennisons’s Birmingham office, adding £2million to the firm’s fee income.

Wenham Major Global Capital Partners was one of the largest and oldest accountancy practices in the country. Last year it celebrated its 140th anniversary.