A Midlands finance firm has undergone a financial shake-up of its own.
Personal Touch Financial Services, which claims to be one of the UK's leading providers of products and services to the independent financial services market, is being backed by private equity firm, LDC, part of the Lloyds TSB Group. The aim is to help accelerate growth of the business ahead of a possible stock market flotation or trade sale.
The company, based in Knowle, was established in 1994 and has expanded rapidly "by combining a value added proposition to intermediaries in the mortgage, protection and investment and pensions markets, with the effective use of technology".
It offers compliance and technical support, training and recruitment and business development.
The company is on target to achieve turnover of more than £90 million this year with a significant growth in profitability on the back of doubling sales in 2005.
Personal Touch employs 160 people. It is anticipated that additional staff will be recruited to support the continued growth, but the group cannot say how many.
LDC has invested £8.8 million for a minority interest valuing the business at £50 million.
Three of the original founders will remain.
In addition, PTFS will buy back a shareholding made in 2002 by the Dutch insurer, Aegon.
As part of the wider deal, ex-Woolwich managing director John Little will be appointed as a non-executive director.
Martin Wilson, executive chairman of PTFS, said: "We have been seeking a partner for some time that will enable us to continue our ambitious growth plans.
"The investment by LDC and potential access to other products and services within the Lloyds TSB Group, for example C & G, makes this an excellent strategic fit. We have a culture of looking after all who are associated with PTFS, and that very much goes for the members and staff who have been instrumental in our success to date."
Mike Allison, managing director of PTFS, added: "We have always said that any investment in PTFS needs to add value to all stakeholders. This deal ticks the boxes in all of those areas and will add value to all concerned."
Roger Buckley and Chris Bourne-Hallett, of BDO Stoy Hayward, acted as lead advisers to the company with Clarke Willmott as legal advisers. LDC was advised by Deloitte, Eversheds, and KPMG.
Andy Lyndon, investment director, LDC Birmingham, said: "We have been closely following the growth of PTFS for some time and see this as an exciting investment opportunity. We are backing a high-quality management team with a highly successful and efficient business model that has produced a track record of p rofitable growth and attracted a high quality adviser base.
"In addition, their innovation in a number of areas particularly the use of technology, sets them apart from other players in the sector. Over the coming months, we will be exploring how other parts of the Lloyds TSB Group could further add value to their market proposition."