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After A Win Down Under, Connectus Heads to the UK

The Focus Financial RIA acquired Watterson Financial Planning, establishing a foothold in Great Britain.

Connectus, a global partner firm of Focus Financial Partners, announced that it acquired English wealth management firm, Watterson Financial Planning. 

According to a statement from director Craig Watterson, the acquisition will help his firm with its continuity plans for employees and clients. Watterson added that Connectus will also benefit from an international reach “without out compromising the boutique nature of our firm.”

The independent financial planning firm based outside of Manchester, England in Knutsford, Cheshire is Connectus’ first expansion into the United Kingdom.

At the close of 2020, the New York-based registered investment advisor boasted of its entrance into the Australian market with the acquisition of three firms: Brady & Associates Group, Link Financial Services and Westwood Group. Prior to that, it acquired U.S. firm Horan Capital Management based in Hunt Valley, Md.

Connectus is Focus Financial's business that buys independent advisory practices that retain and control their own brand, while using Focus' back-office support; Focus’ other business model is based on direct acquisitions.

Though Connectus, as a collection of boutique brands, is only a year old in name, in essence it's a rebranding of Albany, N.Y.-based Atlas Private Wealth Management. 

“Connectus is an extension and an evolution of a 16-year-old business model,” said Rajini Kodialam, co-founder and chief operating officer at Focus Financial Partners.

Focus Financial has businesses in three other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. Now Connectus is also growing its global footprint. 

“I work with our international partner firms and when we talk to the advisors there, the concerns, the asks, the desires, the needs are so consistently similar. We’ve been hearing the exact same thing in the U.K., Australia, Canada and even in other parts of Asia,” said Kodialam. “We found that our model spoke to their needs. The front of the house is consistent with what they were doing in the past, the middle and back office is centralized and speaking to their needs where scale comes to play.”

“We may be the first partnership that offers a global wealth management firm, hence Connectus Wealth Advisors,” she added.

Focus Financial has over 70 partner firms and manages more than $200 billion in fund assets. 

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