Tilney said in a statement: “Following recent media speculation, the board of Tilney confirms that it is in exclusive discussions with Smith & Williamson about a potential combination of our businesses.
“A merger of Tilney and Smith & Williamson would create a market-leading, integrated UK wealth management and professional services group with over £45 billion of assets under management.
“These discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty that a transaction will proceed. A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.”
In 2017, Tilney made a late bid to hijack Rathbones’ proposed £2b merger with Smith & Williamson. The tie-up between Rathbones and S&W was at an advanced stage but ultimately both deals fell through.
Earlier this year, Tilney said it was actively seeking acquisitions after completing a long-running £16 million overhaul of its tech systems. If successful, the purchase would be its ninth buyout of the past five years.
In a statement, S&W added: “The respective boards believe that a merger of Smith & Williamson and Tilney has the potential to deliver significant benefits to the clients, employees, partners and shareholders of both businesses and create a market-leading, integrated, UK wealth management and professional services firm.”
For over a century, S&W has managed the financial affairs of private clients and their business interests. With over 1,700 people in 12 offices in the UK, Ireland and Jersey, it is a leading investment management business and one of the UK’s 10 largest accountancy firms.