AZ NGA & Invest Blue join with Virtual Business Partners to grow Australia’s leading provider of advice solutions

By Natalie Dolan

Professional services utility, AZ Next Generation Advisory (AZ NGA), and national financial advisory business, Invest Blue, have joined forces to co-invest in Australian-owned, Philippines-based paraplanning and back-office solutions provider, Virtual Business Partners (VBP).

Under the deal, AZ NGA and Invest Blue will acquire a 40% interest in VBP with the group’s management team increasing their holding to 20%, and VBP’s founding shareholders, David Carney and David Deegan, retaining a 40% stake.

The transaction enables all parties to fulfil key strategic priorities. It represents AZ NGA’s foray into the advice supply chain, giving the group exposure to a high-quality standalone investment, and securing capability and capacity in the midst of a skills and talent shortage.

Similarly, it reinforces Invest Blue’s strategy to acquire capability and empower people on its mission to become Australia’s largest integrated financial advice brand.

The deal also concludes VBP’s extensive search for an experienced long-term capital partner to help manage key-person risk and succession, and fuel the group’s growth and expansion plans.

According to David Carney, VBP Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, the transaction will ensure VBP retains its convincing lead as Australia’s number one outsourcing partner for financial planning businesses.

“This is an exciting partnership that means we can continue growing, innovating and adding value for our clients,” he said.

“It has allowed David Deegan and myself to realise some capital value, created a pathway for key staff to buy into the business and, in doing so, strengthened our employee value proposition, which will help us attract and retain the best talent.”

Paul Barrett, AZ NGA Chief Executive Officer, said the group was attracted to VBP’s clear purpose, differentiated proposition and vision for the future.

“VBP is not an outsourcing company but a human resources partner for advisory businesses looking to increase efficiencies, reduce their cost to serve and improve their net profit margin,” Mr Barrett said.

“Culturally, there is a lot of alignment between VBP, AZ NGA and Invest Blue, and together our focus is on helping more advisory businesses and extending VBP’s market position.”

David Stephen, Invest Blue Chief Executive Officer said the group was continuously on the lookout for profitable, growing businesses.

“As one of VBP’s largest, longest-standing clients, we know the people who lead this organisation and the talented people they attract. We have every confidence in their ability to grow and continue providing excellent service,” he said.

“We’re also keen to attract and acquire other like-minded advice businesses, and we have the right structures and processes in place to enable advisers to deliver their client service proposition. VBP is a key part of that framework.”

Mr Barrett added: “AZ NGA is not only interested in high quality accounting and advisory SMEs but we see opportunities to invest in key parts of the supply line.”

“A horizontally integrated strategy makes sense because there are clear bottlenecks in the advice process, such as the production of advice documents, and there’s also a huge war for talent. These trends support our strategy and underpinned our interest in VBP,” he said.

“VBP is effectively a human resources solution. It is partnering with advice businesses to solve resourcing problems and build a strong people strategy.”

For more information, contact:

Leng Ohlsson

Principal, Splash Content

M: 0409 509 516


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