IWL Group chief executive Otto Buttula has denied fund research business InvestorWeb is for sale, but admits the crowded ratings industry is a “;natural”; for consolidation.

Responding to market rumours that both InvestorWeb and planner desktop software business VisiPlan were up for grabs, Buttula said IWL was “;not in formal discussion” with any potential buyers. However, he acknowledged that “;the [whole financial services] industry is overpopulated, particularly in the research sector. It’s a natural industry for consolidation.” VisiPlan held 30 per cent of the desktop software market in 2006, according to the Investment Trends 2006 Planner Technology report. IRESS Market Technology, owner of financial planning software provider XPlan, has negotiated with IWL to buy VisiPlan in recent years but satisfactory prices were not reached, according to Andrew Walsh, co-founder of XPlan.

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