Grahame Evans, managing director of GPS Wealth

The Paragem name is expected to endure within Easton Wealth following a series of deals announced on Wednesday in which HUB24 said it will acquire ASX-listed rival Xplore and offload the operations of its advice subsidiary.

As part of the deal, Easton, which has some 760 full service and limited license advisers and accounts operating under several brands, will become an “anchor” client for HUB24’s technology and data services.

“We needed to find a way to deliver quality advice in a highly regulated environment which involves record keeping and likely self-service for some clients to bring more affordable advice to more Australians, and to do that you need technology,” Graham Evans (pictured), CEO of Easton Wealth said following the transaction announcement. Easton Wealth’s brands include GPS Wealth, Easton and Merit Wealth.

Easton noted the deal with HUB24 came about following a strategic review and a decision by the Easton board to explore strategic alternatives within the last 12 months in a statement on Wednesday.

As part of its series of deal announcements on Wednesday, HUB24 confirmed the sale of Paragem to Easton in exchange for around $4 million on new Easton shares. Separately, HUB24 said it would take an up to 40 per cent stake in the ASX-listed Easton Investments resulting in a cash injection of more than $14 million and the option to acquire more Easton shares during the next two years.

The cash injection from HUB24 comes with a technology partnership agreement in which HUB24 will provide technology and data services to Easton, take two board seats as well as a managing director role of the broader Easton Investments group for Paragem’s current CEO, Nathan Jacobson.

HUB24’s acquisition of Xplore, the managed accounts provider headed by former BT wealth executive Michael Wright, increases HUB24’s scale and extends its footprint into the high networth advised market, HUB’s acquisition disclosures outlined.

Along with its acquisition of non-custody platform Ord Minnett PARS, which it also announced the acquisition of on Wednesday, the deal with Xplore will increase HUB24’s funds under advice from 19 billion to $42 billion, according to the transaction announcement.

HUB24 CEO Andrew Alcock discussed the platform industry’s evolution and the importance of scale during an interview recently as part of Professional Planner’s Shape of Advice podcast series which can be listened to here.

HUB24’s acquisitions and disposal of its advice business is on the back of a meteoric rise in the company’s share price from $6.70 per share in March this year to over $22 per share earlier this month. HUB24 funded its acquisitions and Easton stake with a $60 million capital raise including an underwritten placement and a shareholder purchase plan.

Smith is head of content and managing editor of Professional Planner and Investment Magazine.
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