Wealth management firm seeks ASX listing as dealer group acquisition hunt heats up

AD Financial ASX IPO wealth management listing dealer group acquisition
AD Financial is seeking to list on the ASX in 2019.

Wealth management and advisory firm AD Financial Limited is moving forward with a $10 million IPO this year and will pursue an aggressive acquisition strategy as it seeks to bolster the number of high-quality dealer groups and individual financial planners on its books.

The company is targeting an IPO in mid-2019 with its core clients cover retail, wholesale and institutional groups across the Australian financial services market.

The funds raised will enable AD Financial to accelerate its growth plans via acquisition and provide working capital to ensure a strong balance sheet for future growth.

The planned IPO comes after the company was forced to abandon its $35 million merger with Linchpin Capital in mid-2018 after ASIC launched court action against Linchpin.

AD Financial comprises three business units: AD Financial Services, AD Funds Management and the dealer group AD Advisory Services, which recently started looking at opportunities in the financial planning space.

On the back of extensive due diligence, the company made two dealer group acquisitions in 2018. However, this is only the beginning according to AD Financial CEO, Jon Thomas.

“What we are looking to do is move forward with an IPO in 2019, but while we are on that track we are also looking to acquire further, high-quality dealer groups with the focus of increasing our dealer group figures to about 350 advisors by the end of 2019, which would give us strong distribution across Australia,” Mr Thomas told Small Caps.

With offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth, AD Financial currently has 50 financial advisors on the books after starting the acquisition hunt last November.

In addition to advisory acquisitions, the company is also seeking to grow other areas of the business.

“We are essentially bolting on other parts of the business, such as research and funds management,” Thomas added.

AD Financial also has big ambitions outside of the local market. The company is eyeing acquisition opportunities in the US and Singapore, with both regions offering attractive economies of scale when it comes to dealer groups.

Recent appointments bolster growth strategy

Recently, AD Financial has made a string of high-profile appointments as it seeks to become a leading player in the non-aligned wealth advisory sector.

In what was a major coup for the company, Jan Sloane joined the board in the position of chairman towards the end of 2018.

Mr Sloane, formerly a partner at KPMG, was also the chief financial officer of the Liberman family’s JGL Investments and its controlled entities, one of the largest family offices in Australia. Having worked in the family office environment and by extension funds management, for a large portion of his career, Mr Sloane’s appointment is set to bolster AD Financial’s capabilities as it moves to expand its funds management business.

Victor Turco joins as an executive director and brings wealth of experience in Australian and international accounting and is a non executive of ASX listed Pearl Global (ASX:PG1).

Jonathan Thomas joined the company as the group chief executive officer and will oversee the AD Advisory side of the business. Prior to joining AD Financial, Mr Thomas was the chief executive officer of JDL Group.