AZ NGA makes second Fortnum-aligned acquisition

AZ Next Generation Advisory (AZ NGA) has bought a second Fortnum-aligned business, bringing its total acquisition tally to 11 practices.

Italian fund manager Azimut's Australian subsidiary, AZ NGA, announced it has signed a binding sale and purchase agreement to acquire the entire capital of Sterling Planners (SP).

The agreement includes a share swap of 49 per cent of SP's equity for AZ NGA shares and a progressive buy-back of these shares over the next 10 years. The remaining 51 per cent stake will be paid to the founding partners in cash over a period of two years.

The latest deal follows other purchases by AZ NGA, including Priority Advice Group; Eureka Whittaker Macnaught; Pride Advice; Lifestyle Financial Planning Services; Financial Lifestyle Partners; Harvest Wealth; Wise Planners; RI Toowoomba; Empowered Financial Partners; and Wealthwise.

Last month one of AZ Next Generation Advisory's (AZ NGA's) subsidiary firms Pride Advice made its own acquisition, buying the Adelaide-based Bailey Capital Management.

Based in North Sydney, Sterling Planners originates from a business founded by Brent Hutton in 1997 in Perth. It has become well known as a market leader in facilitating UK pension transfers into the Australian superannuation system. SP is responsible for approximately $182 million of client funds, with a team of seven, including three financial planners.

Sterling Planners is a member of the Fortnum financial advisory network and was the recipient of the 2015 Fortnum Practice of the Year award and the Fortnum award for Operational Excellence.

"Sterling Planners are a natural fit for AZ NGA as they are specialists operating at the top of their field," AZ NGA chief executive Paul Barrett said. "Brent, Julie, Nic and the team have remained at the forefront of the pension market for many years. They have also developed a first class financial advisory business and are well positioned to continue to deliver a great experience for their clients and staff."

The total value of the transaction considering both the cash and share swap entails a purchase price of around $4.5 million. The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in May 2016 upon satisfaction of some conditions precedent provided in the sale and purchase agreement.

AZ NGA was established in November 2014 and is part of the Azimut Group, an Italian independent asset manager operating in 14 countries.

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