Competitor licensees circle MLC/IOOF advisers

Other financial planning licensees are circling IOOF and MLC-aligned financial advisers seeking to lure them into new arrangements in the wake of IOOF’s $1.4 billion acquisition move on MLC Wealth.

Almost first out of the blocks was publicly-listed CountPlus with its chief executive, Matthew Rowe, writing directly to MLC Wealth advisers and aligned financial planning businesses offering them a new home under the CountPlus and Count Financial licenses.

Money Management has been told that other publicly-listed licensees have made similar approaches to MLC Wealth advisers, particularly those operating businesses under the Godfrey Pembroke license.

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The offers do not replicate the sign-on bonuses which were a part of the wealth management battles between the major banks nearly a decade ago, but Money Management understands that beneficial sign-on arrangements are on offer.

In making his approach, CountPlus’s Rowe e-mailed a large cohort of MLC advisers pointing to the closure of some of the MLC and IOOF licenses and offering them a stable and conducive new home.

“In light of the announcement earlier this week about IOOF acquiring MLC, and their further announcement that they will be closing and combining a number of licenses, we want to assure you that we are a stable business with a strong balance sheet. We can provide certainty and support at a time when your current licensee is going through significant changes that could impact the level of service you receive,” Rowe’s message said.

“CountPlus is an ASX-listed professional network with a client-first culture, a deep understanding of the forces shaping the advice profession, and strong yet pragmatic governance protocols,” it said.

“Our approach to compliance is pragmatic, common-sense and designed to keep our advisers safe. We provide the guidance and tools needed to deliver quality advice to clients and believe it’s best to work closely with you to achieve positive client outcomes.”

As part of the CountPlus pitch to MLC advisers and those at IOOF, Rowe pointed to the successful manner in which CountPlus had bedded down its acquisition of Count Financial and to the group’s “owner-driver” commercial model.

The message went out to the advisers barely hours after IOOF had announced the MLC Wealth transaction to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and before IOOF had managed to fully inform many of its advisers about its new licensing arrangements.

IOOF yesterday announced to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that it had completed the institutional capital raising underpinning the MLC Wealth transaction raising approximately $734 million.

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Sign on bonuses in 2020? Really? Christ no wonder this industry is disappearing up its own arse. Heads of AFSL’s still think it’s the bad old days of flogging product. Get out of the industry if that’s your game.

Well, sign on bonuses were good enough for David Murray to negotiate getting his bestie De Ferrari over from Credit Suisse to it must be ok for everyone right ??

Why would any MLC adviser want to be screwed over by yet another "dealer group" that burdens them with excessive compliance in order to facilitate inhouse product sales.

Just get your own licence. If you're not prepared for that level of responsibility then you should be an employee, not a "practice owner".

Bang on, surely that's just a sideways step?

I like the idea of a conglomerate of boutique businesses, of a similar size, under one AFSL sharing resources and ideas. I've got my own AFSL but must admit it can get a little lonely at times with just the two of us advisers. In an ideal world I've like to have say 5-10 businesses of similar size using the same technology and perhaps the same branding, share office space, admin and paraplanning resources to reduce the fixed costs and allow the principals to go away for a week and not have the place implode!

Sounds like you have a personality that is more suited to being an employee than a business owner.

IOOF (and other large licensees) are moving to more salaried advisers. This is the model that is best suited to people who want the security and sociability of being part of a larger organisation. Perhaps IOOF would be happy to buy your client base and bring you on as a salaried adviser?

Quite the opposite! I was a horrible employee 15 years ago and am very self driven. What we miss in self licensed land (coming up 4 years) is the smaller community group where you can bounce a strategy off someone who isn’t driven by competition or product flog but is instead pulling in the same direction. Anyway we are fine where we are but I think the future may sit somewhere between IOOF behemoth and solo practitioner.

Perhaps you should join the BFP and cultivate networks within?

(For the uninitiated, BFP is the Boutique Financial Planners association, comprised of small independently licensed practices. See )

Isnt the BFP just the FPA's lapdog? Why join them?

step backwards. Count compliance is over the top, inflexible, poor tech, and they dont allow bulk transfers, so if you want to leave, you have to individually get signatures from each client (not sure if this has changed), plus there fees are high. Why do you think CBA gave Count away? because its dud. MLC have poor culture but IOOF hopefully get it going and its good to see a retail business over taking Aus Super for size.

working under former FPA CHAIR ROWE who presided over the FPA's support for LIF/FASEA......what a fine thanks.

Mr Rowe (and any other licensee behaving like a circling vulture). Please refer to FASEA Standard 12, effective 1 Jan 2020.
Do sign-on incentives align?

Terry McMaster had an approach to compliance which was "pragmatic, common-sense and designed to keep our advisers safe" some 5 or 6 years ago...

Sorry forgot, ROWE then resigned from the FPA Board and jumped onto the FASEA Board [which did not allow current Association Executives] and screwed us all over...along with the past AFA President. That's what you call a reward for cooperation.

Well said long memory Michael.

The fact that the message went out to the advisers so quickly (before IOOF had managed to fully inform many of its own advisers) smacks of insider knowledge

Oh, for crying out loud. Is it 1997 again? or 2003?

None of these companies - IOOF, MLC, CountPlus, any of them - would exist in a true market, without their protective little mandate of 'licensing'.

But they keep kicking on, clipping the ticket every way they can, paying their empty suits, profiting off the work and risk of an institutionalised adviser base. All while pontificating as if they alone have the secrets to running a successful business.

They don't. Even with all the advantages of a true rent-seekers, these businesses are barely able to eke out a profit. They're not Packers, they're Bond's. Yet they feel entitled to look down their nose at advisers and tell us how to run our show?

It's high time advisers stood up, told all these hangers on and parasites to go and make their own money, instead of leeching off our work.

It's 2020 for crying out loud.

Count Financial will probably re-hire Marianne Perkovic, not that she needs to work anymore with her golden parachute. Im sure it will make Count go up in value from peanuts to bananas

Just noticed we are getting the BFP pushed at us, they are a second front for the FPA aligning with their views and policies, a disgrace. When are advisers going to wake up that Associations that have institutional sourced Management and accept their cash will always act in the Institutions best interests. ie LIF,FASEA, Grand Fathering...

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