THREE senior members of staff at a Glasgow wealth management business have teamed up to buy the firm from its outgoing managing director in a self-funded management buyout deal.

Ken Welsh, who co-founded VWM Wealth in 2001, has sold his majority stake in the business to chief investment officer David Thomson and director Lisa Johnstone – both of whom had existing minority stakes – as well as chartered financial planner Grahame Hopper.

Ms Johnstone has taken over as chief executive of the firm, which turns over £1.2 million and has £150m of assets under management, while Mr Welsh has moved into the role of non-executive chairman.

Mr Thomson is continuing in the role of chief investment officer and Mr Hopper has become a director.

According to Ms Johnstone she and her colleagues decided to buy out Mr Welsh to effect his exit without the business having to pass to a consolidator.

“We’d been planning his exit and wanted to do it in a way that protected our client relationships,” she said.

“Consolidators hoover up smaller businesses, but Ken wanted to avoid that because we all feel that would result in a commoditised service.

“We don’t have hundreds of clients – we have 87 and the business is very relationship driven. It’s not just about the money but what the money is doing for those families.”

All the firm’s staff will remain with the business, which in additional to traditional wealth management services has begun taking a more lifestyle-focused approach to the work it does.

“We work with high-achievers and a lot of that is around advising them when they are coming up to retirement and looking to exit their businesses,” Ms Johnstone said.

“It’s about holding their hand through trying to find non-executive positions and in philanthropic activity.”

While the name VWM Wealth represents the second-name initials of the firm’s three original founders – Ian Vance, Mr Welsh and Fergus Muirhead – Mr Thomson said there are no immediate plans to change it.