Raamy Shahien

Viridian Financial Group has acquired boutique wealth advisor Enlightened Financial Solutions as part of an expansion into the emerging video Statements of Advice segment.

Announced on Wednesday morning, Viridian cited the Queensland-based firm’s innovation and implementation of video SOAs which aligns with its own tech aspirations as the driver for its takeover.

The deal will also help EFS better support its existing clients by accessing cybersecurity technology and building on its digital advice engagement with clients.

Viridian joint CEO Raamy Shahien tells Professional Planner the video advice work EFS had conducted was the motivation for the acquisition.

“Some of our executives have had a close relationship with EFS, particularly [EFS founder and CEO] James Wortley, for some time which has helped the initial connection and getting to know each other and making that clear that we do have a cultural alignment piece,” Shahien says.

“James and his team have been working on some exciting things, particularly around video advice model and that’s intrigued us for how we can reach more Australians.”

EFS was recently featured in Professional Planner for the work the practice has conducted in the video SOA space.

James Wortley

“It never made sense to me to provide an SOA that needed to be holistic in nature, but that clients found too complex and unnecessarily long-winded,” Wortley told this publication in March.

“An SOA should be an easily read document that every client can understand. However, it has somehow become a document of protection for the licensee and the financial adviser.”

EFS invested significant time and effort to perfecting the user experience.

“They’ve gone down the path of delivering statements of advice via video solution and for us – for our investment in tech – that made a lot of sense for us,” Shahien says.

“We’re excited about this as an opportunity that’s going to make a difference for the market. We feel this is a way forward for scale efficiency for like-minded individuals to make a difference.”

Based in the 120,000-plus strong North Queensland town of Mackay, EFS has six advisers and nine support staff managing $361 million in client money. Viridian has over 380 staff in total, which includes over 100 advisers managing $9.15 billion.

The full financial terms of the acquisition are not publicly available, but as part of the deal every staff member of EFS will become a shareholder of Viridian.

“Viridian is not a firm that is looking to make simple acquisitions of people that are not culturally aligned and connected, that’s really important for us,” Shahien says.

He adds the efficiency advantages from further scaling up the business will be an advantage for both parties, particularly given the strong cultural connection.

“Being connected to link-minded individuals who want to make a difference in the industry – and this is absolutely what this one is about,” Shahien says.

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