Italy’s independent asset manager Azimut has announced the acquisition of a 93% stake in Next Generation Advisory (NGA), an Australian based firm providing asset allocation and advisory services to local retail, HNWI and institutional clients.
NGA was founded in 2014 by Paul Barrett, who will lead the Australian venture as CEO. Barrett has over 20 years’ experience in the Wealth Management industry including his last role as Managing Director, Global Advice & Distribution for ANZ Wealth Management.
Prior to this, he was the General Manager of Distribution for Colonial First State, part of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Barrett has also worked in other roles in the funds management industry including Rothschild Asset Management and Royal & Sun Alliance.
AZ International Holdings, Azimut Luxembourg sub-holding company, will carry out the transaction, entailing a long term investment plan to consolidate a defined number of financial planner companies and develop the NGA platform. In case of full implementation of all the envisaged acquisitions, an overall investment of around AUD8m (some €5.5m) per year is expected to finance the business plan, which targets to reach AUD7.6bn of consolidated AUM( some €5.3bn) in the next 12 years. The agreement also contains for call/put option rights.
Azimut sees good opportunities for its fast-growing business in the Australian wealth management industry, which is reportedly the largest market in the Asia Pacific region and the 4th largest in the world with over AUD2.41trn (some € 1.67trn) AUM as at June 2014.
Australia, Azimut highlights, has one of the world’s leading pension system (Superannuation), which has underpinned the growth of the Australian asset management industry. As at June 2014, Superannuation funds represented AUD1.74trn (€ 1.21trn) AUM, of which around 50% is allocated to equities. Australians contribute a compulsory 9% of their salaries to Superannuation funds and the Government is considering lifting this rate. Currently, over 16,000 financial planners operate in the marketplace, playing a key role in advising clients on their savings, Azimut said.
Paul Barrett, founder of NGA, commented: “I am delighted with the partnership that NGA has forged with Azimut and I am excited about creating an innovative high quality financial services company in Australia. We are looking forward to providing quality financial planners with a unique growth and succession opportunity in a professional environment. Many talented financial planners in Australia are looking for an opportunity to scale up their operations, and build sustainable businesses that are able to serve their clients in an increasingly complex world. Our initiative, AZ NGA, will provide an environment where these ambitions can be realised”.
Pietro Giuliani (pictured), chairman and CEO of Azimut Holding, comments: “Azimut flexibility, partnership model and long term commitment continue being our key values on which we leverage to develop our presence on international markets and in the asset management industry. Today we are setting the premises to build a greenfield project in Australia, a very advanced and interesting market with strong underlying growth expectations, together with a talented and respected management team. This combination of values and expertise form the grounds to attract local Australian financial advisors to work within a highly rewarding and motivating Group”.