Viridian Financial Group Limited (VFGL), celebrates a significant milestone in its expansion journey with the strategic integration of Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors (Smartmove), a well-established provider of mortgage and lending services with over 20 years of experience.
VFGL has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, expanding its team from fewer than 20 to 400 staff members. The company now has over 100 financial advisors and has a unique model whereby all staff are actively promoted into participating in the long-term vision through direct ownership in Viridian.
The integration of Smartmove with VFGL marks a transformational move for both firms, positioning them as a powerhouse in the financial services industry. The Group doubles its client base to 16,000 and reinforces its position among the top non-aligned advice and mortgage broking firms.
Smartmove brings two decades of home and commercial lending capabilities, further diversifying VFGL’s financial services offering. While Smartmove will retain its own brand and team, the alignment with VFGL’s deeply customer-focused culture is strong and shared.
Viridian Financial Group’s latest integration aligns with the Group’s broader strategy, making it easier for clients to access a comprehensive range of financial services, which now includes holistic financial advice provided by a range of subject matter experts, as well as asset management specialists and a mortgage broking capability. This strategic move allows VFGL to reach thousands more Australians, reinforcing its position in the top 10 of non-aligned advice firms.
Commenting on the integration, VFGL’s Joint Chief Executive Officer, Glenn Calder, stated, “In today’s economic environment, Australians more than ever need comprehensive guidance for all their financial aspirations – from fostering wealth to renegotiating mortgages in a rising interest rate environment.
“Our partnership with Smartmove is a testament to our commitment to delivering remarkable client outcomes through a stellar team of professionals deeply devoted to helping people live the life they desire.”
Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors, led by Chief Executive Officer Darren Little, brings a wealth of expertise and a team of 80, including 30 experienced mortgage brokers, and international back-office operations. Given Smartmove’s experience and expertise as a leading brokerage in Australia, VFGL will merge its existing broking operations into those of Smartmove. The combined companies will provide an extensive offering of mortgages, loans, and refinancing solutions covering residential and commercial property, vehicles, and equipment.
“We are thrilled to be joining the Viridian Financial Group, a firm renowned for its exceptional trust and strong customer relationships in the advice domain,” stated Mr Little. “Through this collaboration, Smartmove will continue to operate autonomously under its own brand, leveraging the expertise of our existing team and maintaining our client-centric culture that has been the cornerstone of our success.
“Our shared vision with Viridian Financial Group empowers us to unlock new possibilities for our clients. By combining our advanced technology and processing capabilities, we can seamlessly eliminate any friction our clients may face, offering them an enriched range of services and access to specialised financial experts who can cater to their individual needs effectively.”
VFGL has grown organically and also has a strategy of building capability through finding like-minded firms, placing significant emphasis on identifying those with a strong cultural fit and similar values. Today’s announcement comes after VFGL’s recent acquisition of Enlightened Financial Solutions (EFS) in April 2023, a prominent Queensland-based financial planning firm pioneering video advice provision to clients.
Viridian Financial Group’s growth is also driven by its innovation and client-centric solutions. The firm has invested significantly in technology to boost digital advice capabilities and develop future advice solutions. This forward-thinking approach addresses challenges like disintermediation, bridging the industry’s void of a strong sense of community created by dealer groups. Viridian sees technology as a pivotal part of the industry’s future and plans to continue its strategic investment in this area.
Glenn Calder concluded, “Together with Smartmove, we are determined to pave the way for a brighter and financially secure future for Australians. Our commitment to closing the advice gap remains a top priority, ensuring expert financial guidance is readily available and transformative for every Australian. We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and remain committed to being at the forefront of progress in the industry.”
The Heads of Agreement between the two firms was officially signed on 20 July 2023, and the completion is on track to be finalised this calendar year.
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