IOOF CEO Renato Mota

IOOF today announced the completion of its acquisition of MLC Wealth, with CEO Renato Mota calling the deal “truly transformational” for IOOF and marking it as the leader of a new era in wealth management.

“Today we become a new IOOF,” Mota stated in a media release delivered Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday 406 MLC advisers will join IOOF licensees, representing 84 per cent of MLC advisers that were in IOOF’s “target set” and met onboarding requirements. “This is consistent with IOOF’s expectations formed during due diligence,” the release stated.

In a discussion with Professional Planner Monday afternoon, Mota gave his head of advice Darren Whereat credit for arranging the massive transfer of advice personnel to IOOF’s pre-existing licensees.

“It’s a real credit to Darren and his team,” Mota said. “They’ve done an enormous amount of work. Transferring 406 MLC advisers in one day, it’s no mean feat.”

The CEO said there were challenges and opportunities inherent in the talent transfer.

“We’ve been really pleased culturally, both these businesses have more in common than they do differences and there’s a strong level of commonality,” Mota said. “Some of the challenges will be the more practical ones, making sure people are empowered to do their jobs.”

IOOF made the announcement to buy MLC from National Australia Bank for $1.4 billion in late August 2020, which sparked a flurry of conjecture about how many MLC advisers would transfer to IOOF.

In a September 2020 interview with Professional Planner, Darren Whereat said IOOF was “not arrogant enough” to think they’d get everyone across.

IOOF subsequently offered advisers heavily discounted AFSL pricing for two years, a move which was publicly criticised by then Wealth Market CEO Matt Lawler, who was only two weeks ago named as the new general manager of wealth at AMP.

IOOF rebuffed the allegations, with Whereat saying IOOF was “offering certainty” to advisers.

Top of the table

The completion of the MLC tie-up immediately makes IOOF the largest licensee owner in the country.

As per this year’s Licensee Owners List – due to be released in Professional Planner next week – an extra 406 advisers on top of IOOF’s existing 1,167 would bring the group to a total of 1,573, shading AMP’s 1,493 adviser network by 80 advisers.

It hasn’t all been a scale game for IOOF, however, as Mota announced in February it would cull 140 self-employed advisers while continue trying to attract “the majority of advisers” from the MLC network.

The CEO made it clear on a results call that the group was specific about the kind of advice businesses it wanted to retain.

“We can afford to be quite selective in who we partner with so we’ve really got a low threshold to support advisers that aren’t aligned with our services,” Mota said.

Across the entire business, IOOF says the “step change” in scale will allow IOOF to reduce costs to its more than 2 million customers and members.

Of the $150 million in expected synergies afforded the company by the deal, between $65 million and 80 million will be realised by FY22, the release states.

The deal also brings IOOF’s FUMA (funds under management, administration and advice) to $494 billion.

 

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning. Contact at [email protected]
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