Simon Swanson

Despite retaining a strategic stake in the advice business it sold to Centrepoint Alliance, Clearview now sees itself having complete separation between product and advice.

Clearview announced in August it would sell its advice arm for $15.2 million while retaining a 24.5 per cent stake in Centrepoint in a deal which was completed in November.

The sale included dealer group Matrix Planning Solutions and dealer services offering LaVista Licensee Solutions.

Simon Swanson, Clearview Managing director, says there were two reasons to offload the advice business.

“One was we were dealing with a perceived – and I do really use the word perceived – conflict of interest, being a 100 per cent shareholder of a dealer group,” Swanson tells Professional Planner.

The second thing, Swanson says, is Clearview has a “pro-financial advice” view and wanted to remain invested in advice. By divesting the advice arm, Clearview cleared the way for advisers to invest more freely on behalf of their clients.

“There is no longer any hesitancy or reticence on behalf of financial advisers to place either life insurance or superannuation in Clearview because it’s not a 100 per cent controlled subsidiary.”

Swanson says the sale presented an opportunity to support the expansion of Centrepoint Alliance.

“There’s an opportunity to effectively participate in a roll-up of dealer groups,” he notes.

“There’s going to be a move for people to move into financial advice businesses that have a really compelling offer i.e., you can join the dealer group or the B2B offering.”

In its 1H earnings results released on 24 February, Centrepoint Alliance stated at the end of 2021 it was number three in the market with 525 authorised representatives, behind Insignia (1,226) and AMP (1,110), due to the onboarding of Clearview advisers.

Having the choice between Centrepoint’s dealer groups or the LaVista offering acquired from Clearview, he explains, will attract more independent financial advisers to join.

“Having both of those on the smorgasbord will increase the number of people who join Centrepoint and make it a profitable and sustainable operation that continues to give back into advice businesses,” Swanson says.

Clearview, which released results on the same day as Centrepoint, reported operating earnings after tax of $13.9 million, carried by the life insurance arm which contributed $13.4 million.