Independent Trustee Services (ITS) has become a fully independent firm after undertaking a management buyout from Mercer.
The transaction - completed this morning (10 June) - was instigated after ITS raised conflict of interest concerns arising from the merger of Mercer's parent company, Marsh and McLennan, and JLT in April.
The professional trustee firm was set up in 1991 and had been part of JLT since 2000, but is now owned wholly by its board of directors.
Speaking to PP, executive chairman Chris Martin said seven directors are part of the share purchase.
"We all believe, given the acquisition of JLT - our former parent - by Mercer, that it was incompatible for ITS to remain part of that group for conflicts of interest reasons," he said. "So, while we've always operated on an independent basis, it was appropriate that we actually stood as an independent company now."
In an announcement to its 150 clients, the firm said the change of ownership reinforced its ethos of being "an independent, professional trustee firm", adding: "At an operational level, we have brought on board additional resources to ensure that our focus remains on the delivery of trusteeship and related services."
The additional resources include the appointment of an interim chief operating officer, Brian Smith, to help run the day-to-day business. Smith is a professional consultant, but has not previously worked in the pensions sector.
On 31 May, ITS also moved out of JLT's offices and into new premises on London's Cannon Street.
The firm will now focus on further growth opportunities, including hiring additional staff and promoting new talent.
Martin added: "The business continues to look for new opportunities to hire additional people to manage and develop trustee relationships for us. We continue a strategy of hiring new talent. And we're continuing to take on new clients and we have done all the way through the management buyout process. We would hope to make more announcements in the near future about people joining ITS."
The firm's clients have included defined benefit consolidator Clara Pensions, the Somerfield Pension Scheme, and the BHS pension schemes. It also sits on the Pension Protection Fund's trustee advisory panel.
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