Jacobsen to depart following Count-Diverger merger

Diverger Limited Diverger Nathan Jacobsen merger Count Financial

21 February 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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Diverger managing director, Nathan Jacobsen, is expected to depart once the firm merges with Count next month. 

In its half-yearly results for the six months to 31 December, the firm expanded on the merger with Count, which has received court and shareholder approval and expected to take place on 1 March. 

At the time of the announcement last September, Count stated that “key roles in Diverger will transition across to Count and talented individuals will be secured into new roles or engaged for transitional periods”.

However, the firm’s results hint at uncertainty for employees at the combined licensee, including managing director Jacobsen who has worked in the role since 2021. 

“Following completion of the Count scheme, the company board will resign and the managing director and chief financial officer of the company are not anticipated to have ongoing roles in the combined group.

“Count has commenced consultation with other Diverger employees which will continue following completion of transaction to assess if there remains opportunities for them in the combined business.

“With the Count scheme transaction near completion, despite employment uncertainty, the Diverger team has remained focused on servicing our clients and looking after our people, which reflected in the organic growth and transaction success.”

The firm said it had incurred $3.8 million in non-recurring costs, which resulted in a statutory net loss after tax of $1.04 million. 

Net revenue in Diverger’s wealth solutions business was $12 million, up from $9.1 million a year ago. The wealth part which includes licensee entities, equity investment into practices and self-license services – accounted for 53 per cent of total revenue. 

Underlying profit in wealth increased by 63 per cent from $1.8 million a year ago to $2.9 million as a result of continued growth in all core revenue streams and tightly managed costs, which included not replacing staff who had left.

Average net authorised representative (AR) fees received by Diverger increased by 2 per cent, up to $57k per firm.  

“The wealth solutions division performed strongly, with net revenue growth of 31 per cent and underlying profit growth of 63 per cent. 

“Net revenue from ARs remained relatively level with the prior corresponding period notwithstanding a small reduction in the average number of firms authorised by one of the group’s AFSLs, down to 142 firms compared to 146.

“Self-license services were $0.4 million for the period derived primarily through the AFSL Compliance (AFSLC) acquired 1 December 2022. The combined number of self-licensed firms of AFSLC and DivergerX continued to grow, up by 15 per cent to 191 firms.”

It highlighted the sharp rise in self-licensed firms, rising from just five in June 2022 to 191 at the end of 2023.

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