Advisory and funds management business Aura Group has purchased a majority stake in Accountable Financial Group (AFG), an independent provider of financial advice, training, and product and service solutions to accountants.
The deal, completed late last week, provides capital for AFG to grow the business aggressively before the removal of the accountants’ exemption in just over 12 months, a crucial growth period for the business, an Aura spokesperson told selfmanagedsuper.
Existing AFG management will retain the day-to-day operating responsibility for the company.
AFG was founded by financial services executive Tony Zulli as a private company in February 2011 as a direct response to the removal of the accountants’ exemption on 1 July 2016, which has resulted in accountants requiring appropriate licensing under an Australian financial services licence structure in order to continue providing SMSF advice.
Zulli heads the group as AFG director.
Aura managing director Calvin Ng said the acquisition of AFG was compelling, as demand for services that allowed accountants to continue providing advice to SMSF clients would become and remain popular.
“The business model of AFG is attractive as it provides clients a genuine end-to-end solution with the ability to tailor very basic or comprehensive solutions to meet the needs of all accountants,” Ng said today.
“While the accountants’ exemption is still over a year away from being removed, we are beginning to see rising demand for AFG services as accountants upskill to better align with client needs.”
AFG’s client base represented over 2000 SMSFs with just under $1 billion in assets under advice.
“With SMSFs representing the largest sector of the super industry and continuing to grow, we believe the growth potential for AFG and the accountants’ business services is tremendous, especially as we near the exemption removal,” Ng said.
According to Zulli, Aura’s stake purchase was a testament to the AFG business model.
In addition, access to the group’s resources and capital would be used to increase licensing revenue and drive business growth, he said.
“We believe there is terrific growth potential for AFG as accountants continue to be the trusted advisers to their clients’ money,” he said.
“While financial advice has not traditionally been the role of the accountant, we offer a full suite of products and services which allows accountants to take on this role and [we] believe popularity and demand will only increase with time.
“We are excited at the prospect and the investment in our business by Aura.”
AFG offers accounting practices three core solutions, comprising ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 training and continuing professional development programs, licensing of accountants to provide compliant strategy and product advice, particularly for SMSFs and superannuation, and financial services and products tailored to accountants and their clients.