Transformational task ahead as Hartley takes over Insignia

12 February 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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With shares down 51 per cent over the last five years and the firm losing its spot as Australia’s largest licensee, Scott Hartley will have a turnaround job ahead of him as chief executive of Insignia Financial. 

Last week, Insignia announced the successor of Renato Mota in the chief executive role will be Scott Hartley who led AMP’s wealth management business from 2021 to 2023.

Hartley has almost 30 years of experience in the financial services sector, mostly within the wealth management space, although he originally started his career with over a decade at oil giant ExxonMobil.

Moving into financial services at the turn of the millennium, he spent the majority of his career at NAB/MLC in a variety of roles to conclude as the executive general manager of corporate and institutional wealth business at MLC/NAB Wealth.

His next executive role was as chief executive of Sunsuper from 20142019, which has since merged with QSuper to form Australian Retirement Trust (ART), where his tenure saw two mergers with Kinetic Super and Austsafe Super add 350,000 combined members to Sunsuper.

Following a brief period of consulting after his exit from Sunsuper, it was announced he would take over as the acting CEO of AMP Australia from Blair Vernon from January 2021, reporting to Francesco De Ferrari. 

At the time, AMP described how Hartley “brings the valued experience of leading the transformation of Sunsuper’s culture, technology, investment and multichannel capabilities”. 

In May 2023, however, it was announced the chief executive of wealth management role would be scrapped as part of an internal restructure and Hartley would be leaving later that year.

“The role of chief executive - Australian Wealth Management (AWM) will be removed with a transition to a new operating model to occur by the end of the year. With the recent transactions largely complete, a flatter organisational structure is appropriate. 

“As a result, the AWM business will be dissolved. Scott Hartley will work with the team to transition to a new operating model over the next six months, before departing AMP. The decision reflects the strong work done to position the Platforms business for growth, while stabilising and delivering efficiencies within the Advice and MasterTrust businesses,” AMP said in a statement.

He left at the end of 2023 and was announced as chief executive of Insignia on 8 February, taking over from Renato Mota on 1 March. Mota had been at the licensee for over 20 years and as chief executive for the past five, announcing his resignation last October.

However, shares in Insignia have more than halved over the last five years and the firm lost its spot as Australia’s largest licensee in December to AMP. 

In its most-recent financial results for the three months to 31 December, the firm said it has seen over 200 advisers depart during the quarter, mostly from the self-employed (licensed) model, which was down from 684 at the end of September to 533.  

Self-licensed advisers were down from 482 to 455, and professional services (employed) advisers were down from 219 to 211. 

“The reduction of 186 advisers was primarily from within the Advice Services channels as a result of the sale of Millennium3 to WT Financial. There was also a reduction of 27 authorised representatives from the self-licensed offer as a result of a larger practice being sold and some other smaller businesses exiting,” it said. 

An immediate focus for Hartley will be the implementation of Advice Services Co, now called Rhombus Advisory, which is set to take place in less than six months. 

This is a partnership model for its self-employed licensees comprising RI Advice, Consultum Financial Advisers and TenFifty as a way to reset its financial advice operating model and grow practices and advisers operating under its licence.

Other priorities flagged by Insignia as part of a three-year strategy include the four pillars of:

  • Improving clients’ financial wellbeing.
  • Deepening partnerships with advisers and employers.
  • Simplifying the business.
  • Building a safe and trusted business together.

 

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