Count Financial adds Ascent Private Wealth to Member Network

Count has announced that Melbourne-based advice practice Ascent Private Wealth Pty Ltd (Ascent) have made the decision to join their advice network.

The announcement continues the CountPlus-owned licensee’s ambitious growth strategy. Since January this year, Count Financial has recruited more than 50 new financial advisers to its revamped national financial advice network.

Mark O’Toole founded Ascent and the firm has been part of the Godfrey Pembroke network since 2001. Mr O’Toole has twenty-seven years’ experience as a senior financial adviser and has held key leadership roles throughout his career – most notably as a former Director of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) and then as founding Chair of Godfrey Pembroke’s Advisory Board.

Ascent’s decision to join Count Financial comes after IOOF announced the acquisition of MLC’s advice businesses (which includes Godfrey Pembroke) in August 2020.

Speaking about the decision to join Count Financial, Mr O’Toole said the choice was made easier after discovering the cultural alignment between the respective businesses.

“As a small business, it’s important that our licensee partner operates as an extension of our practice, allowing us to tap into resources which ultimately help us to deliver advice more efficiently and effectively. Count Financial is running a clean model which has clear separation between product and advice – which is how we believe the best client outcomes can be achieved. They also have a strong balance sheet and have invested in robust compliance and technology systems to enable us to better deliver quality advice to clients.”

Mr O’Toole also highlighted the experience in Count Financial’s leadership team which stood out from competitors in the market.

“Choosing a licensee comes down to more than just the service offer – it’s all about the people. They need to understand the unique challenges faced by advisers and have walked a mile in our shoes. The Count Financial team know the ins and outs of what self-employed advice businesses are confronted with and use that knowledge to help us accordingly.”

Andrew Kennedy, Chief Advice Officer at Count Financial, said the appointment of Ascent was an enormous boost for the licensee which continues to target quality advice firms to join its network.

“Mark O’Toole is one of the real leaders in financial advice in Australia and his experience and knowledge speaks for itself. From his time on the FPA Board and more recently on the Godfrey Pembroke Advisory Board, Mark has always advocated for the best outcomes for clients. We are delighted to have him and the Ascent team coming onboard with Count Financial.”

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