AZNGA eyes regional expansion with key acquisition

MEDIA RELEASE

Azimut-backed professional services utility, AZ Next Generation Advisory (AZ NGA) has secured a key plank in the group’s strategy by gaining a foothold in the New South Wales Hunter Region with the acquisition of RI Newcastle and Lower Hunter.

Established in 2001 by Gil Gordon, RI Newcastle and Lower Hunter employs 14 staff including five advisers across three locations.

The business, which specialises in retirement planning, estate planning and aged care, has approximately $250 million in funds under management.

This transaction marks AZ NGA’s foray into the NSW Hunter Region, signalling its serious intention to build a strong regional presence, according to Paul Barrett, AZ NGA Chief Executive Officer.

“Our strategy is to partner with small to-medium-sized accounting and financial advisory businesses in major capital cities and regional corridors of growth to provide high quality professional services,” he said. “With offices in Kotara, Maitland and Lambton, RI Newcastle and Lower Hunter is ideally positioned to continue growing its sizable client base of retirees, pre-retirees and aspirational families.

“As Australia’s largest nonmetropolitan area, Newcastle and the Hunter is an attractive place to live and work. The region’s vibrant economy includes strong manufacturing, mining, tourism and education sectors plus health services and an international airport to support the local community.”

In 2020, RI Newcastle and Lower Hunter received the RI Advice Platinum Award for the second time.

According to Gordon, who is a senior member of the RI Advice Proprietors Advisory Council and the 2019 RI Advice Proprietor of the Year, his decision to partner with AZ NGA was driven by a need to create a succession plan and secure the business’ long-term future.

It has created a clear pathway for Gordon’s partners, Chris Neal, Ryan Muir and Paul Guttridge to increase their equity stake in the business while also expanding the business’ capacity to execute on suitable acquisition opportunities.

“Our business has experienced record growth over the past few years. We have a clear value proposition, we know our target client and how to reach them, but the advice industry is experiencing an enormous amount of change and uncertainty so we need a strong, experienced partner to help us drive efficiencies and continue expanding,” Gordon said.

“We want to be the standout, innovative advice leader in the Hunter Region. We have been successful in the retiree and pre-retiree segment and our client base is also creating strong opportunities for us to reach younger generations. We convert around 25% of our age care clients’ children into direct clients.”

Mr Barrett said COVID-19 restrictions had not curbed AZ NGA’s appetite and ability to do deals, with the group able to build relationships and negotiate and complete transactions, despite working remotely.

“COVID is not slowing us down. We are bullish on the outlook for the professional services sector and we see plenty of opportunity to execute our strategy by partnering with passionate, ambitious entrepreneurs,” he said.

“While establishing a meaningful regional footprint has always been part of our strategy, we deliberately took our time to find the right partner in the Hunter Region and we are extremely excited that RI Newcastle and Lower Hunter is our entry point.”

For more information, please contact:
Paul Barrett
Chief Executive Officer
M: 0419 402 319
E: paul.barrett@aznga.com