Licensee battle heats up as Millennium3 deal completes

11 December 2023
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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With Insignia’s sale of Millennium3 (M3) to WT Financial now complete, AMP could claim back the throne as the largest advice licensee.

WT Financial Group first announced its $2 million acquisition of M3, a financial advice subsidiary of Insignia Financial, on 21 November. 

The deal reached completion on Friday (8 December), seeing M3’s advice network of over 140 wealth and personal risk insurance advisers transfer from Insignia’s licensee to WT Financial’s one.

"The acquisition further cements WT Financial as amongst the very largest financial adviser networks in Australia. We’re delighted to welcome the M3 cohort of practitioners and their support teams to WT Financial where they’ll find an ideal home - one where we know they can and will flourish at this time of unprecedented opportunity for advice professionals and advice network operators alike," said Keith Cullen, WT Financial's chief executive, on Friday.

Insignia already lost 11 in the past week – five from Millennium3 (three of whom were staff), one at RI Advice and five at Consultum – while AMP lost four and gained one.

This may cause Insignia’s current position as the largest financial advice licensee in Australia to fall in the next week or so, according to Wealth Data founder Colin Williams.

“On the assumption that happens by the end of the calendar year, AMP will once again be the largest group managing advisers, followed by Insignia and WT Financial Group,” he explained.

The founder observed the wider flurry of licensee movement, which includes Fortnum Private Wealth securing Australian Unity’s advice business on 13 November. This has caused Fortnum to jump from the 14th position to seventh, Williams said.

Count is also projected to climb the ranks to third place with its acquisition of Diverger. This is despite rival bidder COG Financial Services’ attempts to merge with Diverger, who has since withdrawn its “superior proposal”.

The current top 10 ranking of licensee owners, as of 7 December, is as follows:

Firm Number of advisers
Insignia 922
AMP Group 872
Centrepoint Alliance 519
WT Financial 428
Morgans Group 427
Diverger 387
Fortnum 383
Count Group 370
Sequoia Group 349
Castleguard Trust 276

Source: Wealth Data

Weekly adviser movements

Following a growth of six advisers last week, the advice industry has fallen by 24 advisers this week to 7 December.

The current size of the profession stands at 15,670. This calendar year to date has seen a net decrease of 129, while this financial year has grown by 111 advisers.

Advisers are visibly active this week with 125 being appointed or resigning. Last week, Money Management reviewed the trend of licensee switching throughout November. 

“As we start to look at closing the year, we can expect more volatility in the adviser market,” Williams said.

Five new entrants joined the profession this week. Meanwhile, six licensees ceased and one commenced.

Looking at licensee growth, 28 licensee owners had net gains of 51 advisers. Shaw and Partners notably welcomed 13 advisers, including 11 from Morgan Stanley and two from Macquarie Group.

Four licensees were up by three, such as Spark Partnership Group and Castleguard Trust (Lifespan), while three licensees increased by two advisers each.

Some 20 licensee owners rose by net one each, including Capstone, Sequoia and Roskow.

On the other hand, 36 licensees had net declines of 77 advisers in total this week. Morgan Stanley led the losses as previously noted with a decrease of 14 advisers. 

Insignia lost another 11 advisers, which included five from Millennium3, five from Consultum and one from RI Advice.

Fortnum saw a net decline of six advisers and three licensees were done by three advisers each, such as AMP and Count.

Another eight licensees lost two advisers each, while 21 were down by one each.

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