Financial advice M&A deals rise in Q1 2024

mergers and acquisitions merger Count Financial Sequoia insignia financial

5 April 2024
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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With the first quarter of 2024 behind us, Money Management takes a look back at the biggest M&A deals in financial advice over the period.

While no major acquisitions announcements were made in January, the subsequent two months saw several M&A deals in the advice space – largely led by Count Financial.

Paul Barrett, AZ NGA chief executive, recently described the pace of M&A activity in the sector as “unprecedented”.

He shared: “I’ve never seen the market more buoyant and confident about [M&A]. There’s so much going on.”

February

Sequoia acquires national paraplanning service

The month commenced with Sequoia Financial acquiring Clique Paraplanning, a national outsourced paraplanning service for financial advisers. The firm has employees and contractors in Melbourne and Sydney, providing services relating to statements of advice and ongoing documentation reviews.

Count expands services segment with offshore acquisition

February also saw Count announce the acquisition of Solutions Centric, an Australian company that provides offshore accounting, tax and self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) services out of India. The deal continued Count’s expansion of its services segment, which supports accounting and financial planning businesses.

Insignia signposts weaker H2 amid Godfrey Pembroke exit

Later that month, Insignia Financial executed a sale agreement with Practice Development Group to return ownership of its advice practice Godfrey Pembroke. According to Insignia chief financial officer David Chalmers, the divestment signals a weaker H2 for the firm due to the revenue losses associated with the exit.

ClearView pivots to simplified business with wealth exit

In its financial results for the six months to 31 December, ClearView Wealth highlighted it had made “significant progress” on its exit from financial advice and wealth management as it seeks to become a simplified insurance business.

March

Count-Diverger merger completes to create $30bn firm

The merger between Count and Diverger, first announced in September, reached completion on 1 March – marking the biggest M&A news in advice for Q1.

While it was previously forecasted that the merger would see Count become Australia’s second-largest advice licensee, it still remains in third place with 723 advisers, as at 28 March. Meanwhile, Insignia clings onto second place with 731 advisers, according to Wealth Data.

Based on funds under advice, Count now has $29.9 billion and revenue exceeding $129 million. Hugh Humphrey, Count chief executive, said the new chapter “enables us to offer high-quality, holistic financial services to more clients in Australia”.

Perth wealth manager expands to regional WA with accountancy partnership

The quarter came to a close as Integro Private Wealth partnered with AMD Chartered Accountants to provide residents in regional Western Australia with greater access to financial advice. The partnership was underpinned by strong demand for advice in regional areas, driven by rising land values and strong export markets fuelling the intergenerational wealth transfer. 

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