Australian Unity has finalised its acquisition of financial planning dealer group Premium Wealth Management following "overwhelming" shareholder approval.
The personal financial services division of Australian Unity first made a bid for Premium Wealth Management in July 2014.
In a statement released today, Australian Unity announced it had acquired close to 97 per cent of the dealer group after shareholders "overwhelmingly elected to accept the acquisition offer".
The transaction, which was completed on 22 December 2014, means that Premium Wealth is now part of Australian Unity's personal financial services division – although it is expected to retain its branding.
As a result of the acquisition Australian Unity will now have 106 financial planning practices with approximately $6 billion in funds under advice, said the statement.
Premium Wealth chairman and founder Simon Wu said the two companies are "culturally and philosophically aligned".
"[Australian Unity] is a well-respected, 175-year-old mutual, and have always prioritised clients' best interest, advisory integrity, with an open architecture environment for investments and insurances," Mr Wu said.
Australian Unity personal financial services chief executive Steve Davis said the addition of Premium Wealth will also increase his firm's exposure to the accounting sector.
"This acquisition should also better position Australian Unity personal financial services to take advantage of opportunities arising from the significant regulatory and environmental changes impacting the [accounting] profession," Mr Davis said.
"Premium is a successful business, with a high-quality group of advisers that has substantial revenue, funds under advice and clients, and will be a significant contributor to increasing the scale and strength of Australian Unity personal financial services," he said.
Premium Wealth chief executive Paul Harding-Davis said FOFA has effectively closed down many organic growth options for the dealer group.
"It became clear we would need to either engage in mergers and acquisitions of our own, or invite a like-minded organisation to partner with us, to enable us to compete in a predominantly vertically integrated world,” Mr Harding-Davis said.
"In the end, we thought the option of engaging with a culturally aligned entity to acquire us made the most sense, has delivered the best outcome for the shareholders and will, we believe, deliver the most benefits to each practice and their clients," he said.
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