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Italian company to buy up advice practices

A new venture backed by major Italian wealth manager Azimut and headed by former CBA and ANZ executive Paul Barrett is sizing up advice acquisition prospects.

According to a statement issued by Mr Barrett this morning, Next Generation Advisory (NGA) has been established by the Italian stock exchange-listed company – which has over 1,500 advisers across 10 countries – to develop a strong foothold in the Australian financial services market.

“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,” the statement said.

“Many business owners are faced with limited funding options when it comes time to [facilitating] the next generation of business owners taking the reins. NGA can provide a solution."

The new venture has secured more than $100 million in capital to “facilitate the progressive acquisition of quality financial planning firms over time”, with the first deals expected in early 2015.

“NGA will fund its acquisition strategy through an offer of cash and shares, and will offer attractive valuations for the highest quality firms,” the statement said.

Former Zurich senior program manager Paul Brain has been hired to take up the reins as chief operating officer of the new venture.