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Acquisitions bearing fruit for Astaire

SMALL cap broking veteran Edward Vandyk is reaping the rewards of his aggressive drive for consolidation in the sector, after a series of new client wins for Astaire Securities pushed his firm into third position among the advisers to the Aim market.

Astaire – which was renamed last year after Vandyk took over Blue Oar Securities – has also swallowed up Dowgate Capital, Whim Gully Capital and St Helen’s Capital over the past 12 months, and is currently mulling a potential tie-up with Hoodless Brennan.

New figures from the quarterly Hemscott Aim adviser rankings show the strategy is bearing fruit, with Astaire gaining seven new stockbroking clients and eight clients as a nominated adviser (Nomad) over the past three months, swelling it to the third-largest small cap adviser in the sector.

Broker Seymour Pierce – whose clients include football club Tottenham Hotspur and retailer Theo Fennell – held on to its comfortable lead on both fronts despite the shock departure of managing director Richard Feigen, who stepped aside in December amid reports of a Takeover Panel investigation.

The company retained all 93 of its Nomad clients and lost just two broking customers over the quarter to leave it with 86.

Among the other advisers to the small cap sector, accountancy firm Grant Thornton keeps the top spot among auditors, despite universal client losses among the five top-ranked firms. Grant Thornton lost six clients over the quarter to leave it with 192, 36 ahead of second-placed KPMG.

Pinsent Masons tops the legal rankings for the sixth time in seven consecutive quarters. The firm catered to 55 clients at the end of the quarter, ahead of Lawrence Graham’s 51 and third-placed DLA Piper’s tally of 44.

Financial Dynamics retained its top spot among the public relations advisers despite losing seven of its small cap clients over the quarter to finish with 82.

Buchanan Communications came in second position with 71 Aim customers, while a six-client improvement for newly-merged Pelham Bell Pottinger was unable to boost it past third place.