Smith & Williamson major technology overhaul delays float plans

Oliver Gill
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Smith & Williamson was in talks with Rathbones over a £2bn merger during the summer (Source: Getty)

Accountancy and fund manager hybrid Smith & Williamson today kicked an eagerly anticipated stock market float down the road.

The firm said an overhaul of its technology platform means it will not be able to list before the second half of 2019.

The announcement will draw a line under hype that a mega initial public offering (IPO) was imminent after its £2bn merger with Rathbones fell apart in August.

Boss David Cobb said Smith & Williamson is "fully focussed on creating value for our clients, shareholders and employees by successfully investing to deliver our growth strategy".

He added:

In this light, we continue to prepare for a potential listing, and will be taking all the necessary steps to position the group accordingly. This preparation, including the major steps we are taking to upgrade our technology platform, will take time, and we anticipate that we will not be in a position to list before the second half of 2019.

Read more: No deal: Merger talks between Smith & Williamson and Rathbones end

Talks between Smith & Willamson and investment manager Rathbones reached an impasse over the summer after the latter said it was unable to agree on terms “that offered our shareholders an appropriate balance of risk and reward”. Days later Smith & Williamson said it was exploring float plans instead.

News of the IPO delay came as Smith & Williamson today reported a 10.7 per cent growth in year-on-year operating income. The firm posted £130.1m of operating income over the last six months, with adjusted profits up 15.8 per cent at £20.5m.

Read more: FTSE 250 firm Rathbones is in merger talks with Smith & Williamson

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