Two AZ NGA firms merge in ‘super firm’ strategy

AZ NGA M&A merger financial advice Paul Barrett

18 April 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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Two financial advice businesses are to merge in an effort to build a strong professional services firm. 

Eureka Whittaker Macnaught (EWM) has multiple offices across NSW and Queensland and provides holistic goals-based advice as well as finance and mortgage broking.

The firm will now merge with Blue Harbour Financial Partners which is based in Brisbane and specialises in superannuation, retirement and estate planning. 

Both firms are part of the AZ NGA Group, and its CEO Paul Barrett previously discussed how the firm is pursuing the emergence of “super-sized advice firms”.

A merger will deliver “scale and efficiency benefits, career opportunities for employees and a strengthened value proposition for clients”, Blue Harbour and EWM said.

Combined, the firm will employ 32 people including 14 financial advisers across five locations, led by one management team under EWM CEO Greg Cook and general manager Sally Bell. 

Cook said: “I’m very excited about our future. Our mission is to be our clients’ trusted adviser and the ringmaster of their financial affairs, which is a key driver behind our growth strategy and recent decision to establish a mortgage and lending business.

“We also have great capability with self-managed super and aged care advice, and we have great advice relationships with industry superannuation.”

He added the merger would help the firm expand to become a multidisciplinary firm. 

“EWM has experienced strong growth, both organically and through M&A, and we have ambitious plans to become a formidable, multidisciplinary super firm.”

Earlier this year, Barrett told Money Management that he believes the financial advice space is ripe for M&A action

Previous AZ NGA deals include the firm’s stake in Perth advice firm The Wealth Designers (TWD), its stake in Sydney-based financial advice firm Foster Raffan iPlan, and its strategic partnership with Rose Partners, a Melbourne-based accounting and advisory business.

He said: “We’re now shifting our capital supply to our firms. We’re trying to give our firms that we’ve invested in more access to our capital and our debt solutions to enable them to do M&A.”

This enables AZ NGA’s firms which it invests in to multiply in size, ultimately expanding its overarching advice footprint across Australia. Barrett described this internal approach as the “super firm” strategy.

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