15/06/2021 - 12:00

Sentry, WT in merger

15/06/2021 - 12:00

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Perth-based financial services group Sentry has merged with ASX-listed WT Financial Group.

Sentry, WT in merger
David Newman said the group had held several discussions over the past year exploring potential partnerships. Photo: Sentry Group

Perth-based financial services group Sentry has merged with ASX-listed WT Financial Group.

WT Financial Group announced to the ASX this morning that it had entered a share purchase agreement to acquire all of the issued capital of Sentry Group for an initial purchase price of $7 million.

Those funds will be provided to Sentry selling shareholders in the form of 50 per cent cash and 50 per cent WT Financial Group shares.

WT Financial Group is the parent company of national dealer group Wealth Today, and additionally operates accounting and tax, mortgage broking and a business-to-consumer financial advice business.

In a statement to the ASX, WT Financial Groups said the deal was transformational for the organisation.

“… [it] is substantially accretive and will position the company well for future organic and inorganic growth,” the announcement said.  

“The inherent synergies of the acquisition, and the resulting scale, are expected to result in NPAT (net profit after tax) for the post-transaction group of greater than $2 million FY2022.”

On completion, WT Financial Group said it would emerge with about 275 advisers across 200 practices Australia-wide.

“Both the company and Sentry broadly provide the same suite of licensing solutions within their respective dealer group operations,” it said.

“However, as each entity has restructured its operations over the past three years it has focused on perfecting different key aspects of the critical supports essential to advice practices in the modernised industry.

“Importantly, each has a philosophy founded on a collegiate approach to the licensee-adviser relationship that places advisers and their clients at the centre of what they do.

“Alignment on these key philosophical and operational issues, coupled with the complementary nature of the IP, skills, and experience of WT Financial Group and Sentry, presents for a seamless integration to the benefit of advisers and their clients.”

Under the agreement, both the Sentry and Wealth Today B2B brands will continue to operate.

Sentry managing director David Newman said the group had held several discussions over the past 12-18 months with other licensee’s that were interested in exploring a potential partnership with Sentry.

“Over the past few years, everyone at Sentry has been working hard to transform itself into an industry-leading Licensee, capable of providing all our member firms with the support they need as the industry continues to evolve into a more modernised profession,” Mr Newman said.

“Whilst on one hand we can pause and acknowledge that a lot has been achieved, the reality is there is always more to be done. 

“As our industry progresses through its current transformation, the needs of advisers and their businesses will also change and therefore Licensee’s must adapt and respond accordingly.

“Sentry remains firmly committed to being a long-term Licensee with the means and capacity to support the firms we work with.”

Mr Newman said Sentry viewed the future of the licensee model as being a flexible service provider engaging with new technology, enhanced practice management capability, as well as facilitating succession pathways for those businesses seeking to exit the industry.

“In other words, we want to provide options for our Advisers no matter where they are within their business cycle,” he said.

“We see these services beyond any traditional licensing solutions.”

The merger follows similar historic moves by Sentry, which merged with Epic Adviser Solutions in 2008, and shortly after acquired Australian Financial Group’s financial advisory business in 2009.

Today’s news is another step in the ongoing rationalisation of the sector, as many Perth groups seek to restructure and reposition their businesses.

At the time of writing WT Financial Group shares were up 33 per cent at 8 cents per share, with company currently valued at about $10 million.

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