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Property Franchise Group launches financial services division with “buy and build” strategy

The Property Franchise Group has launched a financial services division with a pledge to “buy and build”, by acquiring financial services businesses with direct FCA authorisation.

Mark Graves, who is an income protection insurance expert, has been appointed as financial services director, a non-board position at the group.

The group has acquired a 72.25% stake in Auxilium Partnership for a “non material sum”, which is protection advisory business launched by Graves in March 2019.

Auxilium Partnership will now sit under a subsidiary, Aux Group.

Ian Wilson, chief executive of The Property Franchise Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mark to the Group as financial services director.

“His industry credentials are top drawer, and he has both the contacts and commercial acumen to help us identify the winners as we scale our broker network.

“With the knowledge that protection assurance sales are key in bringing about improved operating margins for brokers, we are very pleased to have a protection advisory business joining us as our first financial services acquisition.”

The group has plans to make financial services available as a franchise opportunity, with the group holding the master franchise rights and delivering to its franchisees a separate financial services brand, back office systems, a supply of “whole of market” mortgage products and a compliance function.

The Property Franchise Group currently manages the following estate agency brands: CJ Hole; Ellis & Co; Ewemove; Martin & Co; Parkers; and Whitegates.

Mark Graves has 30 years’ experience at a senior level in the life assurance sector.

He has held roles as managing director at Sesame Bankhall Group, head of network at Pink Network and managing director at Linear Financial Services.

Graves has long been a proponent for income protection insurance, and therefore it’s likely the businesses within the group will be expected to embrace protection.