Professional services utility, AZ Next Generation Advisory (AZ NGA), and national financial advisory business, Invest Blue, have joined forces to co-invest in Australian-owned, Philippines-based paraplanning and back-office solutions provider, Virtual Business Partners (VBP).

Under the deal, AZ NGA and Invest Blue would acquire a 40% interest in VBP with the group’s management team increasing their holding to 20% and VBP’s founding shareholders, David Carney and David Deegan, retaining a 40% stake.

The transaction enabled all parties to fulfil key strategic priorities. It represented AZ NGA’s foray into the advice supply chain, giving the group exposure to a high-quality standalone investment, and securing capability and capacity in the midst of a skills and talent shortage.
According to David Carney, VBP co-founder and chief executive, the transaction will ensure VBP retains its convincing lead as Australia’s number one outsourcing partner for financial planning businesses.

“This is an exciting partnership that means we can continue growing, innovating and adding value for our clients,” he said.

“It has allowed David Deegan and myself to realise some capital value, created a pathway for key staff to buy into the business and, in doing so, strengthened our employee value proposition, which will help us attract and retain the best talent.”

Paul Barrett, AZ NGA CEO, said the group was attracted to VBP’s clear purpose, differentiated proposition and vision for the future.

“VBP is not an outsourcing company but a human resources partner for advisory businesses looking to increase efficiencies, reduce their cost to serve and improve their net profit margin,” Barrett said.

“Culturally, there is a lot of alignment between VBP, AZ NGA and Invest Blue, and together our focus is on helping more advisory businesses and extending VBP’s market position.”

David Stephen, Invest Blue CEO, said the group was continuously on the lookout for profitable, growing businesses.

“As one of VBP’s largest, longest-standing clients, we know the people who lead this organisation and the talented people they attract. We have every confidence in their ability to grow and continue providing excellent service,” he said.

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