The Openwork Partnership is evolving its growth strategy through new long-term strategic partnership agreements with major firms in its network.
Unique Financial Planning Limited and The Penny Group are the first two businesses to sign the new five-year Strategic Partner Firm contracts with The Openwork Partnership, one of the UK’s largest and longest-established financial advice and investment networks.
The Open Work Partnership says Strategic Partner Firm contracts give the biggest network members and The Openwork Partnership itself more security to invest in a mutually beneficial relationship, while offering control over client ownership and marketing rights for the Strategic Partner Firms.
Having a more comprehensive contract with the bigger firms in the network provides security for other Openwork Partnership network members, which includes more than 4,300 advisers in 700-plus firms across the UK, ranging from sole traders to companies with 500-plus advisers.
Philip Howell, Chief Executive Officer of The Openwork Partnership, said: "The signing of the first Strategic Partner Firm contracts is a major milestone in the growth of The Openwork Partnership and underlines the power and value of the relationship with our partners.
“It is very much a two-way agreement which gives both sides more security and protection which is beneficial for all network members while offering control over client ownership and marketing rights to the bigger firms, recognising their scale and status.”
The Openwork Partnership has identified 18 businesses as potential Strategic Partner Firms – they account for around two-fifths of mortgage lending last year and a quarter of assets under management across platforms and Omnis, The Openwork Partnership’s investment arm. Around 850 advisers work for these potential Strategic Partner Firms.
It aims to roll out these new contracts to all potential Strategic Partner Firms by the end of the year. Newcastle Financial Advisers (part of the Newcastle Building Society) and Just Mortgages were already on longer term contracts before the new initiative, which builds the momentum generated by the successful rebrand in February which signalled The Openwork Partnership’s focus on becoming the UK’s leading advice network.
Stewart Williams, CEO of Unique Financial Planning Limited, said: “Our relationship with The Openwork Partnership has played a significant role in our growth over the past few years, and so we are delighted to now be committing to a continued relationship with them. We have a clear and ambitious expansion plan to create a valuable, scaled, and sustainable firm, with a view to eventually capitalising our business. We have no doubt the team’s continued support and expertise will be of real value to us as we seek to achieve that.”
Graeme Morrissey, Partner of The Penny Group, said: “We are very pleased to be taking this important step forward after working with The Openwork Partnership for more than a decade. Our relationship has evolved over that time, and this new contract demonstrates the level of collaboration between our two businesses and provides a platform from which we can move forward as a partnership of equals.
“The Penny Group will continue to focus on recruiting and training the next generation of highly qualified financial advisers, in order to provide a natural home for the many business owners in the network who are seeking their own exit in the near to medium term.
"The Openwork Partnership have clearly indicated their support of our plans for growth, and we look forward to assisting the Openwork Partnership management team with delivering their own strategy over the medium term.”
The Strategic Partner Firms initiative supports the wider strategy for growth, building on current success and confidence across the business, which will include continuing expansion of the network and extending its distribution and range of propositions.
That has included the first TV advertising campaign and a rebrand as part of The Openwork Partnership’s strategy to become the leading network ranked on better outcomes for more clients, by reputation and by growth across the business.
Its new brand incorporates a new modern visual identity, website, strapline and adviser materials alongside updated values and behaviours as part of a wider, more confident, and inclusive positioning. It captures the essence of the organisation, which is that by working together to build trust and deliver peace of mind, everyone can make a difference.