Brewin Dolphin to seek listing on stock market: Pounds 35m flotation will leave stockbroker with no borrowings

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The Independent Online
MORE than 120 stockbrokers who helped to buy out Brewin Dolphin, the private client stockbrokers, two years ago expect to see their stake valued at pounds 35m-pounds 40m in a summer flotation announced yesterday.

Brewin Dolphin is seeking a stock market listing to repay pounds 6m of borrowings and preference shares used to acquire the Edinburgh private client specialists Bell Lawrie White 12 months ago.

The acquisition created one of the leading private client specialists in the country with 420 employees. It came a year after Brewin's management bought itself out of Scandinavian Bank, again for pounds 6m.

Brewin's main competitors belong to the high street banks. The float will leave it with no borrowings. John Hall, managing director, said Brewin wanted the float out of the way before the onset of rolling settlement, which will place heavy demands on private client stockbrokers' back offices.

Ten-day rolling settlement is being introduced on 18 July as a precursor to five-day rolling settlement and finally the launch of Crest, the automated share settlement system replacing the aborted Taurus.

Mr Hall said: 'Rolling settlement is likely to bring pressure on other members of the private client area. It may be an opportunity to recruit individuals and teams, or even buy firms.'

Brewin manages private portfolios for 32,000 clients and trustees with a capital value of more than pounds 4.5bn. It made pounds 3.5m pre-tax profit in the year to 10 December.

Members of the firm, 'worker shareholders', own 85 per cent of Brewin's shares and are expected to hang on to them. The rest of the shares are held by the venture capitalists Baronsmead, 3i and Midland Bank.

Mr Hall welcomed the recent acquittal of Bell Lawrie's analyst Thorold Mackie - 'one of the most upstanding analysts in the business' - on insider dealing charges.