Viridian Financial Group acquires part of Westpac’s BT Financial Advice business and intends to establish a new AFSL to support BTGL Licensees


Jane Watts

Viridian Financial Group Ltd (Viridian), a self-licensed, national advice business offering wealth and retirement planning, investment management and other solutions, has entered into an agreement to acquire part of Westpac’s BT Financial Advice business.

As part of the transaction, Viridian will also offer BT Group Licensees practices, currently operating under the Securitor and Magnitude brands, the opportunity to join a Viridian owned licensee advice model operating under an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) being established. Viridian also intends to acquire the Securitor and Magnitude brands under its new model, subject to finalising terms with Westpac.

The purchase agreement results in the transfer to Viridian of part of the BT Financial Advice business and some of BT Financial Group’s financial advisers and support staff. The transaction enables Viridian to expand its existing national strategy. Viridian will have national adviser presence through both an employee adviser channel and a licensing model for separately run advisory firms.

The BT Financial Advice advisers, support staff and clients who agree to the transition are expected to transfer to Viridian on the anticipated completion date 30 June 2019. BTGL practices that accept the Viridian licensing model will also be able to commence transferring to the newly established AFSL at a later date.

Viridian Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Glenn Calder, said, “This is an exciting acquisition for Viridian staff, clients and shareholders, setting the firm up for strong growth where industry focus is on fee for service, professionalism and quality advice.”

Since its foundation, Viridian has prided itself on being at the forefront of financial services in Australia. The organisation invests heavily in technology and IT relating to its investment, research and compliance capabilities.

Viridian is a public unlisted company and wholly owned by staff and clients.

Calder said, “This acquisition gives us the opportunity to be a dynamic part of the industry, continuing to invest heavily in IT infrastructure in the long term.”

Under the agreement, after the anticipated completion date of 30 June 2019, Viridian will be a referral partner for new Westpac clients seeking financial advice services.

“I look forward to a strong and co-operative relationship with Viridian Advisory,” said Jane Watts, General Manager, BT Advice.

Calder said that Viridian is fully aware of the magnitude of the task of transitioning staff and clients from Westpac to Viridian. “Every effort will be made to ensure the integration is as seamless as possible. We understand people will be apprehensive, and we are committed to undertaking this process with care and understanding.”

Viridian Chairman Neil McMullin said, “The acquisition has the potential to add value for our shareholders. Having only staff and clients as shareholders means they share our vision for the financial services industry, and especially how that relates to serving our clients.

“We firmly believe the culture we have nurtured at Viridian, with its focus on cutting-edge technology, being client centric and having a strong ethical foundation, will underpin the transition.”

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