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Smartmove integrates with Viridian

by Annie Kane11 minute read

The Top 25 Brokerage will retain its brand and team as it moves to integrate with the major financial services business Viridian Financial Group.

Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors (Smartmove) – one of the Top 25 Brokerages in Australia – has announced it will become part of the financial services business Viridian Financial Group Limited (VFGL) after forming a “strategic integration”.

A heads of agreement was officially signed on 20 July 2023 and will see the Sydney-based brokerage retain its own branding and 80-person team (including those in the Philippines and Nepal) as it becomes the lending arm for VFGL, writing residential, commercial property, vehicles, and equipment loans.

It is expected that completion will take place by the end of the calendar year.


Melbourne-head quartered VFGL, which has been in operation for six years, currently has a team of around 400 people – including 100 financial advisers – operating in 28 offices across the country.

While VFGL already had six mortgage brokers servicing the group’s clients (aggregating under AFG), the integration will merge the broking teams to create a team of 36 brokers operating under the Smartmove brand, servicing around 16,000 clients.

The acquisition comes amid a period of rapid growth for both companies and aims to position the non-aligned advice group as a “powerhouse” in the financial services industry.

Speaking to The Adviser about the move, Smartmove chief executive Darren Little (who will continue to head up the lending arm of the business as it integrates into VFGL) said that both companies had been rapidly scaling capability over the last few years and had identified they had “two very aligned cultures” and visions.

After Smartmove founder David Brell and Mr Little met VFGL’s joint CEOs Glenn Calder and Raamy Shahien at an AFG event about a year ago, Mr Little said it was “very quickly apparent” that the two companies could create something “very compelling together”.

Mr Little told The Adviser: “The way we work with our teams and with our customers was very aligned and we realised we had the opportunity to bring our companies together and create something quite unique and leverage off each other’s capabilities.

“Viridian has an outstanding planning business and asset management business that offers holistic advice to their clients. The integration gives us the opportunity to refer in-house to this professional group of people to help our clients. And that is really exciting for us.

“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 noted that Smartmove’s 20-year experience in mortgage and finance broking and its position as a leading brokerage in Australia had been a key factor in deciding to merge its existing broking operations into the Smartmove brand.

Commenting on the integration, VFGL’s joint CEO Mr 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.

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 move is the second acquisition VFGL has made this year, after it bought Queensland-based financial planning firm Enlightened Financial Solutions (EFS) in April 2023, which specialises in video advice provision.

[Related: Top 25 Brokerages 2023: How Australia’s leading brokerages are setting new records]

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