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Cornerstone establishes Asia team

New team appointed to leverage increasing foreign investment from Asia in UK and to grow direct business

Cornerstone FS plc (AIM: CSFS), the cloud-based provider of international payment, currency risk management and electronic account services to SMEs, announces that it has appointed a new team to market the Group’s services to businesses located in Asia, with a primary focus on firms supporting high net worth individuals (“HNWIs”) acquiring real estate in the UK. This is a growing market and these appointments also support Cornerstone’s stated strategy of increasing its direct business by acquisition and team hires.

The new team, which will be based in London, has joined the Group from Vorto Trading Ltd (“Vorto”). Vorto provides international payment services to individuals and organisations primarily in European and Asian markets, and is the Group’s largest white label partner. The appointments are expected to deliver a substantial increase in the Group’s revenue and will be profit enhancing. The team, consisting of Chen Xu, Qianjun Wang and Qian Wan, will receive compensation packages that are expected to include performance-based shares.

At Vorto, the team specialised in marketing international payment services (delivered by the Group’s platform) to companies servicing HNWIs from Asia acquiring real estate, primarily in the UK. The team is also expected to generate new revenue for the Group in other jurisdictions.

The UK real estate market is an established investment destination for HNWIs in Asia thanks to its transparent legal and tax system, relative political stability and significant number of HNWIs, or their families, who come to the UK for education. This demand has increased as a result of the pandemic, particularly for prime residential property, led by qualitative lifestyle choices as well as the desire for second homes near to family around the globe, such as children in UK boarding schools. In addition, this trend is set to continue as Asia is forecast to see the fastest growth in ultra high net worth individuals over the next five years, at 39% compared with a global average of 27%, and to account for 24% of all UHNWIs by 2025, up from 17% a decade earlier (The Wealth Report 2021, Knight Frank).

Julian Wheatland, Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone, said:

“We are pleased to have appointed this new team to focus on expanding our direct business from companies servicing HNWI investment in the UK from Asia. This is a large and growing market opportunity, which has been accelerated by the pandemic and desire for the lifestyle that is offered by prime residential property locations in the UK.

“This also represents the first step since our IPO towards executing on our strategy to expand our business. This team has previously driven transactions through our platform on a partner basis and will now be doing so directly, thereby generating higher margins. We welcome them to Cornerstone and look forward to working together to grow our business.”

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