New Chief Executive for Wren Sterling as AUM hits £2.5bn
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Palatine Private Equity portfolio company Wren Sterling has appointed Ian Halley as chief executive.  

Halley was previously director, distribution investments at Aviva UK and responsible for IFAs, networks and distribution businesses, developing their strategy and propositions.  

Prior to Aviva he worked at Prudential, Friends Life, Scottish Widows and Paymentshield in a variety of board level and senior management positions. 

The appointment will allow Ian Darby, who has successfully overseen the rebranding and transition of the business, to take up the role of executive chairman.

Palatine backed the buyout of Wren Sterling in April 2015. The business, which operates nationally through private client, partnership and corporate channels serves over 50,000 clients. Via organic growth and two acquisitions the company now manages in excess of £2.5bn of assets.

Ian Halley, Chief Executive, Wren Sterling said: "It is an exciting time to be joining Wren Sterling. I'm looking forward to working with the team on new advice partnerships and working with these partners to provide professional advice to their clients and employees."

Andy Strickland, Investment Director, Palatine Private Equity said: "We are delighted that Ian Halley has joined to lead Wren Sterling at what is a very exciting time for the business. Ian’s in depth industry knowledge and experience will be key in delivering the next phase of the business’ growth."

Vernacare announces five-year Indian trade deal
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Palatine Private Equity portfolio company Vernacare has agreed a five-year supply deal with Manipal, one of Asia's largest healthcare management groups, which will create 30 new jobs.

Vernacare expects sales in India to exceed £11m over the next three years and is exploring the creation of an Indian manufacturing base to underpin growth. Manipal Healthcare is the first hospital group in India to introduce Vernacare's environmentally friendly single-use infection prevention system, which reduces the risk of cross infection when toileting and washing patients. This is considered the gold standard globally, raising standards of patient care and increasing productivity.

The long-term supply agreement was announced during a trade delegation to India led by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, her first bilateral visit made outside the European Union.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "This is fantastic news for Vernacare whose state-of-the-art products help save lives across the world every day. Already operating in 96 per cent of hospitals in the UK, I hope the Vernacare will continue to go from strength to strength at home and here in India. British companies like Vernacare show how we lead the way as one of the world’s greatest trading nations and that UK business and innovation is hard to beat."

There is also strong interest in the Vernacare infection prevention system from other leading Indian hospital groups, including Artemis Hospitals, and Fortis Healthcare, which is trialling the single-use method at its flagship Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.

Vernacare is due to open a new service centre in Bangalore, creating high quality engineering jobs to support installation, commissioning and servicing of its technology. It is anticipated that service centres will be set up in every major Indian city, which is expected to create an initial 30 jobs in engineering, sales and marketing. Vernacare's research and development team has worked with Manipal to adapt its products for the Indian market. This innovation will benefit the company as it scales up in other export markets.

Emma Sheldon, Vernacare's Group Marketing Director and Group Board Director of the UK India Business Council, said: "Our strategic partnership with Manipal Healthcare marks our entry into the vast Indian healthcare sector and we see huge opportunity here. We are learning much and our joint innovation with Manipal is delivering the Best of British healthcare technology with a modern Indian twist. This is Vernacare's first export contract in India and is the highlight of a special trip led by the UK Prime Minister, government ministers and other leading British exporters."

Dr. Nagendra Swamy, Group Medical Director and Chairman of Quality Council of Manipal Health Enterprises, said: "Our group hospitals are renowned for pioneering modern technologies in medicine and treatment. We are proud to partner with Vernacare to introduce the renowned single-use method of human waste management to India. We are already utilising this in five of our hospitals. This is accepted as a best practice method of infection prevention by global accreditation bodies and it will help us in our continued drive to set the highest standards of patient care and clinical excellence."

The Vernacare system was first trialled at Manipal's flagship hospital in Bangalore, which is NABH accredited and ranked among the top 10 multispecialty hospitals in India. Manipal Hospital manages 4,900 beds in 15 hospitals and serves around 2m customers per year from India and overseas.

Vernacare’s single-use human waste management system was invented in Manchester and is still designed and manufactured here. It is used by 96% of NHS Trusts and healthcare facilities in 48 countries – helping to reduce the risk of patients contracting MRSA, C.diff, E.coli, Norovirus, Ebola, and other potentially deadly infections.

Vernacare has been assisted by The Department of International Trade, the British India Business Council, and Healthcare UK.

Palatine backed the management buyout of Verncare in October 2015.

Wren Sterling wins Distribution Deal
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Palatine Private Equity portfolio company Wren Sterling has signed a deal to provide independent financial advice to members of Leek United Building Society, its eighth partner in the sector.

The Leek United operates 12 branches across the Staffordshire region and until recently Legal & General provided advice, prior to exiting the market earlier in 2016. Under the terms of the deal, two advisers have moved to Wren Sterling under TUPE transfer.

Paul Chafer, Chief Commercial Officer at Wren Sterling, said: “The building society demographic suits financial advice delivered either in branch or over the telephone. Typically these clients have saved sensibly throughout their lives, but they lack the knowledge to navigate complicated legislation at crucial times like drawing their pension or inheritance tax planning, which is where we add real value. Legal and General exiting the market has created an opportunity for us and we won these deals on the strength of our work with other building societies; meeting their members’ expectations on choice and service, and importantly, delivering a valuable revenue stream for our partners.”

Leek United Chief Executive Kevin Wilson said: “Following a full review of the way in which the society provides financial advice, we decided to offer customers a broader, more comprehensive service. Wren Sterling’s experience, credibility and reputation in the market made our decision to create this partnership very straightforward. We look forward to working with Wren Sterling, and are confident the partnership will continue and enhance the high levels of customer service on which our own reputation is based.”

Wren Sterling is looking to work with more building societies and is also in the market for back book acquisitions as it continues its drive for growth.

Palatine Private Equity backed the buyout of Wren Sterling in April 2015.

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