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June 13, 2019

Commonwealth Bank of Australia to offload advice unit Count Financial

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has agreed to divest its advice arm Count Financial to CountPlus in a deal worth A$2.5m ($1.7m).

Count Financial administers A$8.1bn of funds and employs 359 financial advisers.

The business was purchased by CBA in 2011 for A$373m.

In the current financial year, the business is expected to report a post-tax loss of nearly A$13m.

Currently, CountPlus has equity stakes in 15 Count Financial member firms.

CBA will offer a $200m indemnity to CountPlus to manage Count Financial’s customer remediation over past issues.

The deal is expected to close this October, subject to shareholder nod.

“The Transaction is not expected to have a material impact on the Group’s net profit after tax,” CBA said.

At the same time, CBA announced plans to sell its 35.85% stake in CountPlus after deal completion.

CountPlus managing director and CEO Matthew Rowe said: “This is a strategic acquisition, creating a strong professional accounting and financial advisory network aligned by its shared values, mutual success and sense of community.

“The Board and executive team at CountPlus are focused on a clear strategy for growth, and building a scalable and sustainable, customer-centric professional service network.”

The latest move comes shortly after the announcement of sale of Westpac’s financial advice business.

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