Progeny looks to increase legal services offering after Scottish MDP move

Moles: Need to increase professional services offering

Multi-disciplinary Progeny Group will continue to boost its legal services through organic growth and acquisition, its chief executive said in the wake of a major move into Scotland.

It is acquiring Scottish firm Moray Group, which combines legal, property and financial services, as it looks to ensure that the other professional services Progeny provides keep up with the rapid expansion of its asset management business.

Alternative business structures (ABSs) are not currently allowed in Scotland – where they are called licensed providers (LPs) – but will be soon. A requirement that they be majority owned by regulated professionals is under review.

As a result, Progeny has established a “commercial alliance” with Moray Legal so that the two can work more closely together in anticipation of LP licences being granted.

Progeny describes itself as the only firm in the UK to bring together independent financial planning, asset management, tax, HR and private and corporate legal services.

The group, which has 11 offices, is made up of Progeny Private Law and Progeny Corporate Law, alternative business structures licensed in 2016, together with Progeny Wealth, a wealth management firm, and Progeny Asset Management, both regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Moray Group managing director Rob Aberdein is to become chief commercial officer with Progeny and is speaking on multi-disciplinary practice at November’s Legal Futures Innovation Conference.

Established in 2020, with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and North Berwick, Moray Group has expanded rapidly since launch.

Mr Aberdein said: “The legal and professional services sectors need new ideas, structures and ways of working if they’re to meet the needs of the modern client and workforce.

“Progeny has led the way in disrupting these industries for the betterment of the sector and the clients within it and we’re delighted to be working more closely together.

“When the era of alternative business structures arrives in Scotland, it will bring fresh thinking and opportunity, changing the sector landscape forever.

“This means we will be able to offer the client more by making it easier for them to do business with us, accessing legal, tax, wealth management, property and financial advice in one place.”

Progeny entered the Scottish market with the acquisition of Innovate Financial Services in Edinburgh in February 2019, Ayrshire-based Affinity Financial Planning in April 2021 and Balmoral Asset Management earlier this year.

It now has £5.5bn of assets under management in total following the acquisition of wealth managers The Fry Group in July.

Progeny chief executive Neil Moles said: “This is a new type of activity for us. As we expand the financial advice and asset management side of Progeny, it’s important that we continue to increase our legal and professional services capacity in proportion.

“Aligning with Moray will help us to do this, ensuring we deliver an exceptional, joined-up service to clients while also giving us the innovative potential and far-sighted view of the future that will propel us forward in Scotland, the UK and internationally.”

Mr Moles explained to Legal Futures that Progeny’s approach was “to deal with all of clients’ needs under one roof – no one person leads the advice”.

There was no other business like Progeny at a similar scale, he went on, and the aim in legal services was in part to move beyond a “transactional relationship” with clients and provide ongoing advice, such as reviewing their will annually.

Mr Moles said he aimed to continue to grow Progeny’s legal services offering “both organically and through acquisitions where it makes sense to do so”.

He added that the group was trying to turn financial planning into a profession, rather than a sales exercise, by not paying on commission.

Mr Aberdein said: “There is true commonality of purpose and principle between ourselves and Progeny, and together we can create a new template for the future of professional services.”

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