Three firms from two large non-aligned licensees, as well as a NAB-aligned practice, have jumped ship to Australian Unity Personal Financial Services over the past four months.
The practices are Paragon Private Wealth, which was previously licensed under Fortnum Private Wealth; Three Chairs Financial Services, which was previously licensed under NAB-aligned GWM Adviser Services; and Southern Cross Financial Solutions and Global Financial, both formerly licensed under Professional Investment Services (PIS).
General manager, advice, of Australian Unity Personal Financial Services, Paul Harding-Davis, said the increase in the number of practices reflects the attractive environment Australian Unity has created for advisers.
"Advisers say they are drawn to Australian Unity because of our relationship-based full-service offering, our broad open-architectured APL and our Accountant Partnership Program, as well as the fact we are a mutual organisation focused on improving the financial wellbeing of our clients and not a bank or life insurance company," he said.
"Our Accountants Partnership Program is very successful in introducing referring accountants to our advisers."
Mr Harding-Davis said the Accountants Partnership Program currently has relationships with over 300 accounting firms — most of which refer their clients to Australian Unity financial advisers and mortgage brokers for specialist financial advice.
He also said he expects more advisers to join Australian Unity Personal Financial Services over the next few years as advisers realise they need a full-service offering and open architecture from a licensee if they are to grow their practices — and provide first rate client services — in an efficient, compliant and profitable manner.
"Although we expect to continue to grow strongly, the fact we have a high touch, full-service model with a focus on helping our advisers grow their practice means we do not want to take on too many advisers," he said.
"That and the importance of cultural alignment with our wellbeing focus is why over the last 12 months we have turned away a number of prospective advisers and also assisted some of our existing practices to find alternative licensee options that were more suited to their business objectives," Mr Harding-Davis explained.
Australian Unity Personal Financial Services currently has 101 planning practices, 183 advisers and 22 mortgage brokers operating in all mainland states and the ACT.
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