Financial training specialist set to raise £10m with flotation on AIM

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The Independent Online

HST Financial, which provides training and back-up to independent financial advisers, said yesterday that it plans to raise up to £10m in a flotation on AIM, the small company stock market.

HST has two main businesses, Sage FS, which offers consultancy services, and The Host Partnership, a branded IFA service provider with a national network of 18 offices.

The group has helped former employees of big insurance giants such as Sun Life of Canada, which has shed its own direct salesforce, helping to retrain them as IFAs.

Philip Lockyer, the chief executive of HST, said: "Our flotation is an important step in the future growth of HST Financial.

"It will not only assist us in building our key businesses within the group, but also raise our profile within the marketplace, help attract high- calibre IFAs and enable us to deliver a wide range of services to our existing members," Mr Lockyer commented.

Proceeds from the fundraising will be used for acquisitions, developing new services, intermediary recruitment and boosting work capital. Seymour Pierce is advising on the flotation and is broker to the group.

News of the planned float comes as UK initial public offerings fell to 12 in August from 24 a year ago, according to a survey by Bloomberg.

The dozen new issues, all listed on AIM, raised a total of £51m compared with £268m a year earlier.

Seymour Pierce has led brokerages with 14 IPOs so far this year, though Collins Stewart is in top spot for funds raised with £59.5m. Teather & Greenwood was in second spot for funds raised with £41.3m.

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