June 14, 2024
Conditions ‘ripe’ for fund manager M&A activity: WAM


With Fortnum Private Wealth and Professional Financial Services (PFS) now unified under the Entireti umbrella company, CEO Neil Younger details the firm’s new direction and future expansion.

On 22 April, Fortnum and PFS announced they had created a new parent company and overarching brand identity to operate under, called Entireti. This followed from Fortnum’s acquisition of Australian Unity’s PFS business in November 2023.

Under the Entireti group, the firm employs over 55 staff with approximately 400 advisers across the country. Its 170 advice businesses collectively oversee more than $30 billion in funds under advice for over 60,000 clients.

Neil Younger, Fortnum group chief executive and managing director who has now become Entireti’s chief executive, spoke further with Money Management on the decision to unify the two businesses while retaining their respective names.

“It was really important for us as part of the [acquisition] strategy to maintain the identity of those two businesses. They’re established firms which have good brand cachet themselves and we wanted to continue to expand both of those separately,” he said.

“But we needed something we could attach to that could typify what the business was trying to achieve, while recognising those two brands remain prominent. That’s where a holding entity was needed. Enteriti was the brand name we landed on because we felt it actually articulated what we believe we’re about from an organisational perspective,” Younger continued.

While the firm operates as a licensing business, the CEO recognised the broader services it provides to financial advisory practices including practice engagement and growth, investment research and technology functions.

“We felt that as a community, there was an Enteriti if you like, of the solution that we could provide, and hence that’s where we landed on this name which articulated our purpose particularly well.”

Eyes on the horizon

In becoming Enteriti’s chief executive, Younger noted how his role will sit with the addition of Matt Brown, who has now become the executive general manager of advice since joining from Australian Unity.

“Matt will take more responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the Australian financial services licence (AFSL), which frees me up to focus more on our strategic initiatives and further expansionary plans,” Younger said.

In particular, Enteriti is looking to expand its range of investment services. In addition to its AFSL businesses, the firm also operates a separately managed account (SMA) capability which it hopes to grow under the shared parent identity.

The CEO added: “We see there’s a real opportunity for more advice-led portfolio solutions for advisers and their clients, so that’s an expansionary path for us.”

Younger previously told Money Management that while the PFS deal brought additional scale into the business’s operating model, the firm is unlikely to do more M&A in the immediate future.

“There’ll be more [M&A deals] on the landscape for the future, but for us as market participants, our focus has been on ensuring we’ve got the right support structures to run these two businesses well. Adding the benefits of scale into those businesses effectively is really where our focus is.”

FSC board appointment

In the same week as the Entireti announcement, it was also announced that Younger will be joining the Financial Services Council (FSC) board as a director alongside Keith Cullen, managing director of WT Financial Group.

Reflecting on his appointment, Younger said the importance of advice has been further amplified by his and Cullen’s addition to the board.

“It allows the voice of the adviser to take a more prominent role within that board, which can only be a good thing. We have a really practical understanding of how the rubber meets the road, and how ultimately regulation will translate to day-to-day activities for financial advisers.

“That level of practical understanding is really helpful. Sometimes you can sit a long way away from the impact of the decisions you make. It’s fair to say we probably sit a little bit closer to that impact zone.”

The Quality of Advice Review, now often referred to as the Delivering Better Financial Outcomes bill, remains the FSC board’s primary focus, Younger added.

“We’ve got a passage of legislation occurring now with challenges that we need to resolve in the first phase. Then we move to the second, more substantive phase which deals with the qualified adviser and how simple advice will operate.”





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