Matthew Rowe

The Count Financial advice network reported earnings before tax of $690,000 in the back half of 2021 as the business transitions to a model that isn’t dependent on grandfathered revenue.

The $690,000 EBITA figure is the final of the Matthew Rowe era as chief executive of CountPlus, who officially departed on the day of its latest earnings results.

In the investor presentation from parent company CountPlus, it noted the Count Financial network served 17,567 clients, an increase from 15,033 in 1H21, as total revenue from financial advice increased from $7.21 million to $8.22 million.

Despite the reduction of revenue from grandfathered remuneration, $770,000 was added from increases driven by the new business model which leveraged its share of gross business earnings (GBE) generated by financial advisers.

However, there was a short-term impact on revenue due to the onboarding of new advisers receiving fee discounts.

Investment in advice

Count Financial now has 263 advisers from 127 member firms and expects to grow its financial adviser numbers to 288 by 31 March, 2022.

This growth has seen average revenue per firm increase 33 per cent since 2019.

“Since the corresponding period last year, our average GBE per adviser has increased by 24 per cent, with $39.44 million in total GBE across our network being generated for the six-month period to 31 December, 2021,” interim CEO Laurent Toussaint said in the group’s results announcement.

“We have also seen a 14 per cent increase in the total number of clients being serviced by a Count Financial adviser compared with 1H21.”

Advisers at Count Financial produced 12,015 advice documents (49 per adviser) in 1H22, up from 8,122 (33 per adviser) in 1H21, and 5,920 (19 per adviser) in 1H20.

“Our strong financial position enables us to invest in technology that makes it easier for our members to deliver more advice,” Toussaint said.

“In the past year, we have seen a 48 per cent increase in advice documents produced thanks to the simplified templates and digital tools we have introduced.”

CountPlus still eyeing acquisitions

The Rowe era was most-famously marked by the acquisition of the former CBA licensee for $2.5 million, but CountPlus’ strategy still involves further acquisitions.

CountPlus retained a $11.48 million net cash position, despite already investing $12.96 million in new businesses, including SMSF service provider Accurium and paraplanning support service Wealth Axis.

“Our strong cash and debt position provides capacity to fund further strategic growth,” Toussaint said.

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