New York-headquartered private equity firm Focus Financial Partners intends to make key acquisitions in the Australian accounting space.
US investor sets sights on accounting market
Focus entered the Australian financial services market earlier this year, with acquisitions of financial planning boutiques MW Lomax and Westwood Group.
Now the firm’s co-founder and managing director, Rajini Kodialam says he wants to undertake similar “hub and spoke” deals with accounting firms.
“I’d like to have an accounting hub, which can either provide financial services or use one of our partners,” Ms Kodialam revealed.
“We have a track record in this space and own two third-party administrators in the US, which are equivalent to SMSF administrators here in Australia. We also own a lot of registered investment advisory (RIA) firms, which are like IFAs.”
A former McKinsey & Co consultant, Ms Kodialam said Focus’s specialisation is in working with independent, non-conflicted service providers and helping them achieve greater profitability.
“We are private equity but we are private equity with some key differences. We only invest in one silo – truly non-aligned firms, true fiduciaries acting in the interests of their clients,” she said.
“Second, we take our value-add seriously. We’re not just going to turn up at board meetings. When we bring an idea, a partner has the contractual right to say no, but we never own technology, we never own product, we never will. The only reason we would bring an idea is if we believe it will positively impact the P&L.”
Focus is on the hunt for executives with strong knowledge of M&A, wealth management or accounting in the Australian market so it can establish a full-time presence in the country.
Interested applicants need to have high emotional intelligence.
“This is a people business. Life’s too short to not work with nice people,” she said.