Kingswood appoints Lawrence as group CEO 

Acquisitive Financial Planning group Kingswood has appointed David Lawrence as group CEO. 

Previous CEO Gary Wilder, who has been CEO for three years, will step back to take a non-executive director role.

Mr Lawrence was appointed as UK CEO of Kingswood in December 2020 and has 30 years' experience in financial services, mostly with Lloyds Banking Group where he held senior leadership roles in distribution and its retail, commercial and insurance divisions.

Kingswood has also appointed Guernsey-based investor Richard Avery-Wright to the boards of UK regulated subsidiaries KW Wealth Planning and KW Investment Management.

The firm, active in the UK and the US, has acquired eight IFA firms in the past 12 months including, in February, South-Yorkshire-based DJ Cooke (Life & Pensions) in a deal worth £1.5m. Kingswood has a client-facing advisory team of 94 and total staff to 300. It has UK funds under advice or management of £7.2bn. 

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New board member Mr Avery Wright also has 30 years of commercial and investment experience. He began his career in 1985 on the floor of the London Stock Exchange as a trainee stockbroker. For the following 22 years, he worked for a number of well-known financial services firms, including Man Group PLC, and Old Mutual PLC, both in the UK and in Australia. In 2007, he co-founded Pie Funds Management in New Zealand. In 2012, he settled in Guernsey and established RCP Holdings Limited, which has co-founded or made investments in a range of businesses including, RAW Capital Partners, Castle Point Funds Management, Wealthify and MYPINPAD.

Kingswood chairman David Hudd said: ‘‘On behalf of the board, we are absolutely delighted to announce David Lawrence as our new chief executive officer. His leadership of Kingswood UK has been transformative, and we are confident David will take the business to another level over the coming years, fully realising its potential. 

“I would like to express huge thanks to Gary Wilder for stepping into the CEO role over three years ago and having the vision for what Kingswood can become both domestically and internationally. The board will continue to benefit from this as he steps back into a non-executive role.

“I am also pleased to welcome Richard Avery-Wright to the boards of our UK regulated subsidiaries KW Wealth Planning Limited and KW Investment Management Limited. His knowledge and expertise in fintech will be invaluable as Kingswood builds its presence in this area.”

Mr Wilder said: ‘’Since appointing David Lawrence as UK CEO in December 2020, huge progress has been made on our ambition to become a leading wealth manager. The business is now demonstrating leading credentials in buy and build, delivering strong inorganic and organic growth and leveraging the benefits of being a vertically integrated wealth manager. With equal investment in its people, client experience and technology, the business is now exceptionally well placed for its next phase.

“Accordingly, it is now exactly the right time for me to step back into a non-executive role and give David the mandate to take the business forward as chief executive officer. I will continue to have oversight of Kingswood US, though this will continue to be very capably led by Mike Nessim who is delivering some stellar successes.’’

Mr Lawrence said: “I joined Kingswood excited by the vision and opportunity to build a leading wealth management business in the UK. Fifteen months in, I am delighted to be leading an increasingly successful, rapidly growing business and a team of people where I am hugely proud of what they do each and every day for our clients and each other, with so much more to come.

“The business is being transformed, most notably illustrated by the eight acquisitions and integrations that we have completed in the last twelve months, with a strong pipeline for a similar number during 2022. With an equally strong focus in our people, our client experience, technology and proposition, I expect the next fifteen months to be an incredibly exciting period for Kingswood.”

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