Tony Bongiorno

The financial planning profession is mourning one of its founding fathers following the death of Tony Bongiorno, 78, in a tragic cycling accident. 

Bongiorno passed away on Friday after an incident occurred during a bicycle ride for charity – an activity Bongiorno Group CEO Margaret Mote said was something he loved. 

His motivation for the ride, his passion for fitness, his competitive spirit and of course, his eternally generous soul are quintessentially Tony. 

“We will forever be inspired by Tony and will ensure his legacy lives on forever,” Mote said in a statement on the Bongiorno Group website. “We commit to remembering him by sharing his love and dedication to everyone in his life; clients and colleagues, family and friends.” 

Steve Prendeville of Forte Asset Solutions, an M&A consultant and confidante to many Melbourne advice practices, tells Professional Planner he is deeply saddened by the news and paid homage to the strength of the Bongiorno business.  

“Bongiorno [Group] has been a leader in this industry for more than five decades,” Prendeville says.  

Established in 1964, and once an active and respected member of the National Mutual life agents network, Bongiorno and his brother Joe returned the business to a privately-owned structure in the late 1980s following demutualisation and built it into a nationally recognised boutique brand.  

Peers have praised his mentorship and thought leadership. “Tony Bongiorno was an exceptional individual,” wrote Adam McCann, director of Adelaide-based Bartons Financial Services on LinkedIn. “In his professional realm, his insights and capabilities were unparalleled. His vigour, unwavering determination, and boundless generosity set him apart. To many, he was more than just a colleague — he was a mentor.”  

Jason Brown, head of distribution at BT, added: “Sad news at the passing of one of the architects of our great industry. Passionate to the end about clients, business, family and causes that are bigger than himself”.  

Mote also praised Bongiorno’s dedication to customer service. “Tony adored his clients,” she wrote. “He celebrated their achievements as if they were his own and stood alongside them through their challenges.” 

Others pointed to his kind and personable nature, and lifelong support for the Essendon Bombers football team. 

“A true gentleman and a lovely man,” wrote Paul Spillane, head of property at Godfreys, on LinkedIn. “I enjoyed many great dinners with Tony as members of the Red and Blacks … Rest in peace great man.”