Roger Hartley

Offshore investors view the Australian advice industry as highly investible, backed by a well-established regulatory framework and massive retirement pool.

While it may seem counter-intuitive to some who focus on the decreasing number of advisers; the industry’s high barriers to entry, the large $3.4 trillion retirement savings pool, the exit of the big banks and the move from a sales-based commission structure to a full-fledged professional service model all serve to make advice businesses hot properties.

According to Koda Capital founding partner Paul Heath, MHB Advisers principal Roger Hartley was the man who helped Koda understand and access the specialist US wealth capital market.

Hartley tells Professional Planner that the regulatory structure, fragmentation caused by the banks exiting, and the increased need for the service from an ageing wealthy population has made advice an attractive proposition in the long term.

“It’s a market that is going through some level of disruption with the banks leaving and the rise of the independents,” Hartley says. “The view from offshore is that Australia is a very attractive market. There are long-term tailwinds that are in good part propelled by compulsory superannuation and property values.”

Hartley says it’s not only the ultra-high net worth and high net worth sectors that are of interest to offshore investors, but also firms that focus on mass affluent clients.

“Businesses of scale that have strong value propositions and can demonstrate solid growth in revenues and profitability are going to be attractive to discerning offshore players.”

Keeping up appearances

Hartley has been operating in Australia since 1999.

“We keep tabs pretty closely on the [Australian] market,” he says. “Covid-19 interrupted travel down to Australia but we typically get down three or more times a year.”

MHB Advisers is a specialist investment banking and consulting firm that focuses on the wealth management and asset management industries globally.

“We’re a small boutique, made up of three seasoned partners, including a native Australian. We each have 20 plus years’ experience in doing this,” Hartley says.

Cracking the Koda

US-based wealth management firm Emigrant Partners took a minority 20 per cent stake in Koda in May.