Financial Planning
CountPlus' 100-day plan for Count Financial

CountPlus' acquisition of Count Financial from the Commonwealth Bank has been completed for a fee of $2.5 million - and CountPlus is confident its new business will return a first year profit.

CountPlus acquired 85% of Count Financial with the 15% balance acquired by a wholly-owned special purpose subsidiary of the Count Member Firm Trust.

The agreement includes a $200 million Commonwealth Bank indemnity against certain past regulatory and advice failure liabilities.

CountPlus chief executive Matthew Rowe said: "Our objective is to make the CountPlus business the leading network of professional accounting and advice firms in Australia, and we have developed a 100-day plan to integrate Count Financial into CountPlus following its return to its CountPlus home. We will ensure that all member firms fit in with the CountPlus family photograph."

That 100-day plan had a focus on culture, with Rowe writing to shareholders that research shows culture is fundamental in the success of any merger.

After the 100-days are up, Count Financial will offer CountPlus the immediate ability to scale.

Rowe said that scale is one of the key areas where the Count acquisition will add value.

"With the reduced operating costs of Count Financial, the acquisition is expected to be profitable for shareholders," Rowe said.

"In a short time, we will implement our plan to bring Count Financial into the modern age of advice, not only making it comply with legislation around new education standards and the banning of grandfathered commissions, but also forming a standard bearer for what a financial advice business of the future should be."

Full year results for CountPlus have the firm at a profit margin of 20% in 2019, compared to 15% last year and 12% the year before.

Adjusted net profit after tax was up too, achieving $5 million in 2019 compared with $3.7 million in 2018.

Rowe said these results mark the completion of a two-year transformation for CountPlus.

Read more: CountPlusCount FinancialCommonwealth BankMatthew RoweCount Member Firm TrustAustralia
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