Craig Keary (left) and Clayton Daniel

Ensombl has picked up Craig Keary as chair, as part of the adviser education and social platform commencing its global expansion journey in South Africa.

Keary, the former CEO of digital advice service Ignition Advice and Asia-Pacific managing director at AMP Capital, will oversee a series A capital raise and the opening of Ensombl’s first overseas operation in Cape Town, South Africa on 31 August.

Ensombl revealed its plans for global growth to Professional Planner last year, later announcing a re-brand to avoid trademarks issues in the US.

The appointment of the former banker, who is completing a doctorate on the financial planning industry, will see outgoing chair Andrew Rocks remain on the board as a director.

Keary stepped away from the CEO role at Ignition in March, instead taking on a broader consulting role for the company which will continue while chairing the Ensombl board.

Ensombl now boasts a community of over 8000 advisers and Keary praised the “highly engaged” community the company created.

“I’m a big believer in the value of financial advice and joining a business that is really focused on a large number of the community that is highly engaged is a real privilege,” Keary tells Professional Planner.

“Based on that solid foundation the business has and the aspiration we have, I’m really focused with working with the board and management team and Clayton to focus on those new growth opportunities – both offshore and also in other adjacencies in Australia.”

Ensombl chief executive Clayton Daniel says the company has been planning its South African launch for around two years, settling on Cape Town as the next stop for its global expansion.

“We hadn’t launched anywhere else other than Australia, so we decided South Africa was different enough, yet similar enough to Australia,” Daniel says.

“We could use the blueprint of what has worked here in Australia but test it in a market where there were enough differences for us to see if our assumptions were correct.”

Ensombl launched an event in South Africa this month, as well as adding a home on the online platform specifically for South African users.

“We’ll give ourselves probably six months to fully focus in on that territory, get boots in the ground over there, set up the infrastructure,” Daniel says.

“As of next year, our plans [are to] continue to expand – whether it’s the UK or the US next will really be dependent on how the first six months go while in South Africa.”