Count Financial grows national advice network with three former MLC firms



Count Financial has announced that three former MLC firms are joining our 
national network of advice businesses.

These appointments continue the CountPlus-owned licensee’s growth strategy, following the appointment of four former IOOF firms on 17 March 2021. Count Financial continues to work with other prospective firms in due diligence to join its growing community of financial advice professionals.

The three former MLC firms joining Count Financial are:

  • Sapphire Coast Financial Services – formerly licensed through Godfrey Pembroke
  • Next Generation Financial Planning – formerly licensed through Meritum
  • Aspire Financial Planning Group – formerly licensed through Garvan


Sapphire Coast Financial Services is the fourth firm to join Count Financial from Godfrey Pembroke, following the prior appointments of Ascent Private Wealth, Venture Financial Advisers and Plan Protect.

They are a Canberra-based firm led by Darren Stevens, who has over 20 years’ experience as a financial adviser. Their business model is centred around a high-touch service for clients and close collaboration with other professionals to provide holistic advice for clients. Mr Stevens has built the business around being a ‘trusted adviser’, where clients value the strong relationship and high level of service he provides.  

Speaking about their reasons for choosing to partner with Count Financial, Mr Stevens said there were similar styles and cultural values between the businesses.

“The biggest drawcard for joining Count Financial is that they are an AFSL that believes in advice first, with no conflicts of interest in manufactured product. They are not aligned with a product provider or platform and are purely advice-led, which aligns closely with our own business values. There is also great comfort in being involved with a financially stable licensee that is profitable.”

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

“Sapphire Coast, Next Generation and Aspire are three exceptional advice firms that we are delighted to have joining our national network. They bring experience and expertise which the rest of our Member network will be able to benefit from. With our Annual Conference just two months away, we’re excited that all of our new firms will have the chance to come together and experience Count Financial’s renowned sense of community in a dynamic and engaging environment.”

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