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Bentleys unveils ‘whole-of-wealth’ offering

Accounting, taxation and audit firm Bentleys NSW has revealed its move into financial advice will benefit its SMSF clients through additional wealth and advice services that better align its overall proposition with their needs.

Called Bentleys Wealth Advisors, the new financial planning division, launched earlier this month, is led by Mathew Cassidy and provides investment strategies, wealth protection and intergenerational wealth transfer advice.

Bentleys founding director and Sydney chairman Nigel Banks said the move was made well ahead of the expiration of the accountants’ exemption.

“We have circa 300 SMSFs and we’ve always had a panel of wealth advisers that we refer work out to, but it was a little disjointed in a sense that we were doing the compliance piece and perhaps the tax strategy, but then couldn’t give the other advice around that,” Banks told selfmanagedsuper.

“So we’re offering a whole-of-wealth [proposition] to our clients, not just the tax and accounting side.

“The main point of difference we’re offering now is a coordinated approach, whether from the tax aspect, the succession plan aspect, as well as strategic wealth advice.”

He said Bentleys Wealth Advisors was expected to become a major part of the practice in terms of revenue and growth, with the group already receiving a positive reception from its client base.

“We’re two months in and we’ve been a little surprised at how successful it has been,” he said.

“Already we’ve had a large number of clients sign up to some strategies that we’re proposing.

“We’re doing what’s best for [our clients] in a more coordinated approach and servicing them as more of a one-stop shop, and we’re quite lucky that we have that trusted adviser status and now the feedback we’re getting is that every time they see us they’re getting more and more confidence.”

Commenting on Bentleys’ entry into financial advice and the challenges many accounting practices had faced since the new licensing regime began on 1 July, he noted it ultimately came down to finding the right people who had the same level of client care and focus as the group.

“We’ve been on this journey for two-and-a-half years,” he said.

“We met with many advising firms, we looked at joint ventures and referral arrangements, but we came to the conclusion that we needed to have it in-house, so we found the right people with the same vision and professionalism that we had and that was our biggest challenge.

“It’s possible, but it doesn’t happen in five minutes.

“We take quite a conservative approach to our clients, so it’s less marketing and selling product – we’re looking at how we can add more to our client base in our services and offering, which we started with a mail-out of documents explaining that we’ve launched the practice.”

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