Newpark advisers to share in PIS takeover

The worst-kept secret in New Zealand’s financial advisory industry became official yesterday when Australian group Professional Investment Services (PIS) revealed plans to buy Newpark Financial Services.

Thursday, October 9th 2008, 5:00AM

by David Chaplin

As Good Returns reported in July this year PIS has been pursuing Newpark for some time but only clinched an agreement to buy the insurance-based network late last month.

In the deal, rumoured to be worth about $6 million, PIS New Zealand will merge with Newpark to create an advisory group of over 250 advisers and 130 accounting firms.

David Keys, head of PIS NZ, told Good Returns the acquisition remains to be signed off by the group’s shareholders – expected to occur at an AGM penciled in for November 6.

Once finalised, Keys would remain as general manager of the group while Darren Gannon, current owner of Newpark, would stay on as head of life risk business.

Gannon told Good Returns the merger of the two groups would enable Newpark advisers to quickly access the benefits of scale the larger entity would provide.

He said under the purchase agreement – a mixture of cash and scrip – most of the existing Newpark advisers would receive a shareholding in the group.

“Every [Newpark adviser] will have the opportunity to get shares over the next 12 months,” Gannon said.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Robbie Bennetts, head of the Queensland-based PIS, said the Newpark deal would take the firm’s NZ operations “to the next level”.

“The merged groups will become New Zealand’s largest financial advisory group and enters the marketplace at a critical juncture with the New Zealand government set to introduce new financial planning laws,” Bennetts said.

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