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UK-Listed Kingswood Makes Senior Hires, Eyes Major M&A Expansion

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , London, 3 March 2020

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The firm is planning to complete a number of acquisitions this year, and if they succeed it will have more than 200 staff across 20 offices in the UK and US.

Kingswood Holdings, a London-listed wealth manager working on a number of acquisitions, has appointed three senior non-board figures.

Harriet Griffin has been appointed as chief operating officer, Richard Bernstein as chief risk officer to lead integrated risk and compliance function across the group, and Kirsten Owbridge as managing director – group HR, a new role with responsibility for Kingswood’s people development strategy.

The firm is backed by £80 million ($102.3 million) of irredeemable, convertible preference share capital committed by funds managed by Pollen Street Capital last year. The firm said its main focus for 2020 is to hunt for “accretive opportunities” in the UK independent financial advisor market. It also wants to expand its US business.

Kingswood currently has a number of “significant transactions” in the UK. If they are closed successfully, the firm will have more than 200 employees across more than 20 offices in the UK and US.

Griffin has joined from Charles Stanley where she held the same role of COO of its private client investment management business. She recently completed her MBA at Cranfield University. Prior to Charles Stanley, she was senior client relationship manager at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

As chief risk officer with over 17 years’ experience in compliance and risk, Bernstein was previously head of risk and central compliance at Close Brothers Asset Management. Prior to that, he was head of operational risk at F&C Asset Management (now BMO Asset Management) and operational risk manager at Barclays Private Clients. He is also a CFA charter-holder and a Chartered Fellow of the CISI.  

Owbridge, a Chartered Member of the CIPD, who assumes a new role of managing director – group HR, previously worked for St James’s Place Wealth Management where she was senior HR business partner. Prior to that, she was director of HR at Sonnedix Group, based in Tokyo and London. Throughout her career, she has worked in HR at a number of financial services institutions including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Mindshare Worldwide, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), Lloyds Banking Group and O2 UK.

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