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Easton buys into Melbourne firm

ASX-listed Easton Investments, which recently acquired a 31 per cent stake in Hayes Knight (NSW), has now purchased a 25 per cent equity interest in a Melbourne-based financial services firm.

News Michael Masterman 04 June 2015
— 1 minute read

Easton Investments paid a cash consideration of $2.376 million for the 25 per cent equity interest in First Financial, with the ownership change effective immediately.

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In a statement released to the ASX, Easton said this consideration was sourced from existing surplus cash reserves.

First Financial is a Melbourne-based wealth management and financial services business, offering a range of services including, financial planning and investment advice, finance broking, income protection and life (risk) insurance broking services and SMSF administration.

The firm currently has around $1.15 billion funds under advice and specialises in SMSFs, advising and administrating more than 500 funds.

The acquisition of a minority interest in First Financial is consistent with Easton’s business model to build a major distribution platform in the financial services sector through the partial ownership of a network of accounting and financial planning businesses.

Easton currently owns 31 per cent of Hayes Knight in NSW and has outlined ambitions to buy into a number of accounting firms in Australia.

Greg Hayes, Hayes Knight founder and managing director of Easton Investments, recently told AccountantsDaily that Easton aims to buy into 20 to 30 well-established accounting firms with between three and 10 partners and with revenues in excess of $3 million.

Easton, according to Mr Hayes, is looking to utilise significant industry experience and a unique model of minority ownership to help firms deal with the increasingly prominent succession issues facing the profession.

“We look to take a minority interest of typically 30 per cent and then increase our interest, where invited, up to 49 per cent. But equally, we are prepared over time to sell down our interest to the 30 per cent level to accommodate the entry of new local partners. It is all about facilitating and promoting the longevity of the firm,” he said.

“They will continue to be independent firms; however, there will be a common thread by virtue of our investment and the logical progression is that you would expect that, over time, those firms will talk to each other and may be able to leverage off each other,” Mr Hayes said.

Easton buys into Melbourne firm
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