Kon Costas

Almost two years on from the exit from BT Financial Group, The Principals Community managing director Kon Costas believes the group has found its feet as a standalone company.

BT announced in November 2021 it would no longer provide a service-only offering to self-licensed advisers, but the group ultimately ended up continuing under the leadership of managing director Kon Costas.

“The transition has been amazing,” Costas tells Professional Planner.

“I can remember the nervousness, together with the absolute excitement, of coming out of an institution, plus taking on the responsibility of bringing on our team on this journey.”

He adds the exit from BT has opened other avenues since the group is no longer tied to a single institution.

“Today we have open architecture around who wants to join and participate,” Costas says.

“It’s not open for everyone, but the activity we have from other providers and the recommendations and endorsements we get is now far greater than when we were part of the BT group.”

The group currently has 122 self-licensed businesses, but Costas believes they have capacity to support up to 150 practices.

“We had up to 130 as part of the community; however, we had many mergers happen of late which we have encouraged and facilitated,” Costas says.

“We continue to attract other like-minded businesses to be part of our Principals Community that supports our growth aspirations.”

The current 122 in the network authorise 1262 advisers, making its reach larger than two largest institutional licensees, AMP and Insignia.

Despite the high number of practices and advisers in the network – which still only covers less than a third of the 4000-odd self-licensed advisers in Australia – Costas says there is still a barrier to entry for the community.

“We can’t help everyone that is self-licensed,” Costas says. “We have our own due diligence process, we make sure that people that understand what we’re about as a community – that like-mindedness, cultural alignment, and attracting professional growth orientated practices is what we’re about.”

“It’s very difficult for us to support every self-licensed business but those like-minded, higher net worth businesses based on the ratio that we’re talking about [122 practices and 1262 advisers] gives you a bit context on the type of businesses we work with.”