Count announces its first acquisition of 2024

Countplus Hugh Humphrey Affinia AFSL

2 February 2024
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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Count Financial has made its first acquisition of the year, with one of its Victorian subsidiary firms purchasing an accounting practice.

Kidmans Partners – a multidisciplinary firm offering wealth management, accounting and compliance services – is a subsidiary of Count’s Australian financial services licence (AFSL).

The Victorian firm has announced its acquisition of Business Accounting Melbourne, an accounting business which specialises in automating and implementing technologies to streamline all accounting and bookkeeping processes.

According to Hugh Humphrey, Count chief executive, the deal will continue to support Count’s consistent growth as it also looks to become the third-largest advice licensee in Australia.

“This transaction is further evidence of Count’s growth strategy which will expand Kidmans’ client base and associated accounting revenues.

“Kidmans is a successful and established financial services business in Melbourne, and the clients of Business Accounting Melbourne will benefit from their expertise, experience and client-first approach,” Humphrey described.

Count was busy throughout 2023 as numerous advice practices joined its AFSL, with several moving across from Affinia after Count acquired the firm from TAL in May 2023. The deal saw approximately 100 advisers added to its national community at the time and brought its client funds under administration to $17 billion.

The latest business to join Count’s advice network was Critique Private Clients in December last year, a Sydney-based advisory practice that switched from an Insignia-owned licensee.

A month prior, Count welcomed holistic advice business Vista Financial Group to its licence after moving across from Affinia.

Tribel Advisory was the first practice to join Count's AFSL from Affinia, which saw an additional 11 advisers join the firm’s advice network.

Moreover, the financial advice licensee was also active with its merger with Diverger throughout 2023.

The announcement was first made in September last year, which is set to create a combined business with funds under administration and management of $29 billion.

While the merger has seen several setbacks from major shareholders and raised offers, Diverger shareholders finally approved its merger with Count last week, which will see the firm acquire 100 per cent of Diverger Limited.

In an ASX statement on 23 January, it said the scheme was approved by the “requisite majority” of Diverger shareholders.

Peter Brook, chairman of Diverger, said: “At Diverger, we have pursued, quite assertively and successfully, a dual growth strategy (little deals and a big deal) with minimal capital and resources. Today is the culmination of our efforts. At times it has been stressful and hectic.

“But the crew has delivered on good operating results, continued growth in dividends every year and engineered a capital transaction that is in accord with the consolidation thesis we consider beneficial to shareholders and the industry, and delivered a significant premium to shareholders with the opportunity to continue participation.”

A second court hearing will take place on 15 February, and the transaction is scheduled to complete in early March. 

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