The move by Financial Index to acquire Centric Wealth may represent the tip of the iceberg with respect to the level of merger and acquisition activity in the financial planning sector this year.
While a number of dealer group executives have indicated to Money Management that they have already experienced interest from other planning groups this year, one of the key advisors in the Financial Index/Centric Wealth transaction has confirmed the existence of more positive attitudes towards merger and acquisition activity.
Chase Corporate Advisory executive director Andrew Gale said there was a fair degree of investigation and inquiry occurring and this was being evidenced relatively early in 2014.
"I can't speak for other firms, but we are seeing a solid pipeline of work in this area," he said.
Gale said he believed much of the activity was being generated by the continuing confluence of the accounting and planning sectors, and the declared intention of a number of accounting groups to grow their presence in the planning space.
A senior dealer group executive said that an important element of the overtures being made in 2014 was that they involved non-aligned entities rather than bank-backed groups.