Change of ownership

Directors aim high after buying out Johnston Financial founder

John McArdle (centre) and Suzanne Gray with Adrian Johnston

Two directors in a firm of chartered financial planners are buying out the owner’s remaining stake and aim to double the size of the business.

John McArdle, who became managing director of Johnston Financial in May 2018, will own 90% of the company after founder and chairman Adrian Johnston sells his 27% holding. Another director, Suzanne Gray, will own the remaining 10% stake.

The new management structure has ushered in a new era for the Edinburgh-based firm which has been operating since 1987 and has more than £420 million of assets under management. Plans are in place to reach £1 billion within five years.

Mr McArdle said: “Adrian started the business from one room in an office in Northumberland Street back in the 1980s.  We are still in Northumberland Street today, but now have 2000 active clients, a turnover of more than £2m a year and occupy three floors of the same building.

“It’s testament to his vision and talent that the company has built not only such deep and loyal client base, but also a strong and talented 18-strong team. All of this gives us the perfect platform to evolve and grow even further

“After such an impressive career, it was only right that we made sure succession was also going to be as smooth and seamless as possible. Indeed, we’ve been speaking with our clients about this for many years to prepare them.

“What’s most pleasing is that this allows Adrian to keep an active role in the company as he winds down until retirement.”

Mr McArdle, who joined the business in 1997 as a financial planner, rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a 50-50 shareholder with Mr Johnston. He said the buyout deal, negotiated by legal firm Rooney Nimmo, had been funded from retained profits.

“It will be a period of evolution, not of wholesale change.

“Suzanne’s elevation to become a shareholder is a clear statement of our ambitious intent and we’ll be bringing on board other talent to  ensure we continue to grow.”

MacTV employee buy-out

Eighteen staff at Stornoway-based production company MacTV have been given a stake in the business after it became Scotland’s latest employee-owned business.

Established in 2001, MacTV is the largest independent TV company in the Highlands and Islands. Specialising in factual documentary, arts and music programmes in Gaelic and in English, the company is one of the biggest producers of programming for BBC ALBA, including the Gaelic language channel’s flagship documentary series Trusadh, which tells distinctive, and compelling stories from Scotland.

The company’s main production base is in the Hebrides, with staff also in the central belt, and in recent years the company has also been involved in a variety of international co-productions, working with companies in Canada, Ireland, Iceland and Wales. 

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