Nathan Jacobsen (left) and Paul Barrett

Former Diverger managing director Nathan Jacobsen has been appointed to lead adviser outsourcing firm Vital Business Partners.

Jacobsen will commence as CEO in May after departing Diverger due to the firm’s acquisition by Count.

AZ NGA founder and VBP chair Paul Barrett says Jacobsen is the “ideal leader” to take the company forward.

Both Barrett and Jacobsen have been members of the Professional Planner editorial advisory board, with the latter stepping down this year after departing Diverger.

Barrett cited the advisory board and the Professional Planner Licensee Summit, which is returning to the Blue Mountains in NSW on 18-19 June, as important facilitators to their professional relationship.

“The Professional Planner platforms offered such as the Licensee Summit and the advisory board and other things were actually key platforms for our relationship,” Barrett says.

“We got to know each other well, we share a lot of business views. We don’t agree on everything, we challenge each other. I’ve always admired Nathan as someone who has a clear direction and vision, he’s all about execution, getting organisations from A to B. In my eyes, he’s become a real senior industry leader.”

Jacobsen will take over from VBP co-founder David Carney who had been leading the day-to-day management of the business and will solely focus on a new role as head growth, reporting to Jacobsen.

Barrett says Carney had been talking to the board for several months about succession and his desire to drive the growth of the company.

“He’s very focused on wanting to develop the new business pipeline and take the offering to a broader market set,” Barrett says.

“That’s what he’s keen to do. He was the one leading that conversation, he saw an opportunity for us to bring someone into take the business to the next level of scale and grow out the service offering.”

AZ NGA acquired VBP in August 2022, in conjunction with Invest Blue and key VBP management and staff.

“The Invest Blue ownership is very critical to the success of the firm as well,” Barrett says.

“They’ve helped VBP build out its offering to where it is today. They are probably the most advanced user of the services.”

David Carney

VBP was founded in 2013 by David Carney and David Deegan, offering outsourced business solutions including financial planning administration, accounting and bookkeeping, paraplanning and mortgage broking support.

“We’re looking to invest heavily in service and infrastructure firms because for 20 years up until now that’s been the domain of large institutions,” Barrett says.

“They got a bit confused about where to put their money and a lot of the money went into products as well. We’re investing our money in services to support advisers.”

VBP in turned acquired advice business consultancy Elixir Consulting last year, which it announced along with a name change to Vital Business Partners from Virtual Business Partners.