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Goodbody brokers snaps up BDO's private wealth division

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The number of trades on the ISE rose by almost a third in the first half of the year

The number of trades on the ISE rose by almost a third in the first half of the year

The number of trades on the ISE rose by almost a third in the first half of the year

The land grab continues among the stockbroking community.

Goodbody Stockbrokers has bought BDO's private wealth management advisory business, the Irish Independent can reveal.

BDO's private wealth team has a staff of 12, offering everything from investment advice to pensions structuring. It prides itself on not being affiliated to any single banking institution or life assurance company.

As part of the sale agreement, managing director Michelle O'Keefe and members of her team will transfer across to Goodbody's in September.

The 12-year-old unit will join Goodbody's 270-strong investment team, which oversees €6bn of funds under management.

BDO put the unit up for sale because it wants to focus on its core business, audit, tax and advisory services, it is understood. The accounting firm employs 400 people across Dublin, Limerick and Belfast.

It is the latest in a series of major consolidations within the Irish stockbroking industry.

There has been a huge shake-up of the sector in the wake of the recession, after dramatic falls in share prices eroded commissions and profits.

There were 16 domestic stockbroking firms in operation in 1988, compared with just six today. In the last four years, Cantor Fitzgerald has bought Dolmen Stockbrokers, Davy has bought Bloxham, South African bank Investec has bought NCB and Kerry-based Fexco has bought Goodbody.

There has also been speculation that international firms such as Merrill Lynch or Goldman Sachs could buy an Irish broking firm if the price is attractive.

The management team of Merrion Stockbrokers, meanwhile, is in the process of completing a management buyout. Merrion is one of the last remaining independent firms, after fending off a takeover bid from Cantor.

The stockbroking sector has been under the spotlight ever since the economic collapse began.

An investigation by the Central Bank last year, prompted by the collapse of the country's oldest stockbrokers, Bloxham, uncovered numerous problems in the sector.

A report on the matter warned that more mergers will be necessary to ensure the industry survives

The Central Bank is anxious to ensure that the consolidation occurs in a "sensible manner" and that firms are not incentivised to take undue risks to maintain unrealistic business levels.

Irish Independent