Jersey’s Estera acquires Guernsey’s Morgan Sharpe Admin

Estera, the fiduciary and administration services provider that was created in December, 2015 by the private-equity-backed management buyout of Appleby Group’s fiduciary business, has acquired Guernsey-based Morgan Sharpe Administration Ltd.

The purchase price of the deal, which was finalised on Monday and is subject to regulatory approvals, wasn’t given. When it’s completed Morgan Sharpe will rebrand under the Estera name.

The acquisition is Estera’s first since the buyout.

Estera chief executive Farah Ballands, pictured, said the Morgan Sharpe team was a “perfect fit with the Estera group”, and that under Estera’s ownership, Morgan Sharpe’s clients would benefit from access to Estera’s expertise on a global basis and the additional resources Estera would be able to give it.

Estera, Ballands added, “is committed to enhancing its position as a leading player in existing and new jurisdictions.”

Estera currently employs more than 350 people, who operate out of ten jurisdictions, including, in addition to Jersey and Guernsey, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Hong Kong, the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Shanghai.

With the addition of the 18-strong Morgan Sharpe team, the Estera headcount will approach 370, Estera noted, in a statement announcing the acquisition.

Founded in 2008

Morgan Sharpe was founded in April, 2008, by a management buyout of Assura Administration, at that point a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Assura Group, by Serena Tremlett and Mel Torode, who used their maiden names – Morgan and Sharpe – to rebrand it.

Both are remaining with the company, with the result that Estera has more women in top roles than most companies in its sector.

In a statement accompanying the announcement of Estera’s purchase of their company, Tremlett and Torode said: “Partnering with a leading global player in fund administration and fiduciary services in an increasingly complex and international market was the next logical step for Morgan Sharpe.”

They added that although they had received “many approaches” from potential buyers in recent years, Estera was “the ideal partner for us, given its global reach, excellent reputation, professionalism and commitment to both employees and clients.

“We are excited about the new opportunities for our clients and our team that will arise from this partnership.”

As reported, Appleby unveiled the MBO of its fiduciary arm, Appleby Fiduciary Business, backed by private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital, in January of 2016.

Bridgepoint, which is based in London, was known as NatWest Equity Partners until a management buyout in 2000. It mainly focuses on acquisitions of “market-leading businesses” valued between €200m and €1bn, but its Development Capital operation focuses on smaller, middle-market buy-outs and growth capital investments, “typically businesses valued up to €150m”, according to its website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

Read more from Helen Burggraf

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