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AZ NGA readies itself for acquisition spree

AZ Next Generation Advisory (AZ NGA) has more than 10 deals with mainly bank-aligned firms in the offing, as it moves into its second phase of growth.

Paul Barrett, AZ NGA chief executive, told ifa the firm is moving away from being a start-up and towards a phase of strong business growth.

"We are no longer a start-up and have quickly moved into growth phase ," he said.

"We have a very healthy pipeline going into the double digits, with enough transaction volume to see us through into next year."

Mr Barrett said that AZ NGA was most of the deals were being struck with “fundamentally” retail financial planning firms that “belong to a number of different networks.

“Most are aligned practices, but we have been having conversations with some own licenses,” he said.

In line with this second phase of growth, AZ NGA has launched a website and will be moving into a new Sydney office soon. The business is also bedding down the firms that it has already acquired.


“We have conducted our first round of board meetings and are looking to assist firms with their governance and strategic agenda. We are currently helping all of our firms with their strategic business plan. The firms have been really receptive to that,” Mr Barrett said.

“We are very interested in sound board governance principles and are using our experience to ensure the board:management relationship is sound. A lot of our conversation at board level focusses on ways of de-risking the businesses. This includes enhancing the capital structure of our firms,  understanding operational risk, and the risks that come with growth.”

AZ NGA plans to further de-risk its firms with debt refinancing plans and by launching an acquisition model.

"We are working on how the firms can add tuck-ins or acquire other practices," Mr Barrett said.

In July AZ NGA signed an agreement to acquire Lifestyle Financial Planning Services (LFPS), marking the third deal struck by the wealth management firm this year.

This follows deals made with CBA–aligned Eureka Whittaker Macnaught and the ANZ-aligned Pride Group.