Meg's Musings

10 Nov 2021

Meg Heffron

Managing Director

It seems like a very full October raced past way too quickly – all of a sudden we’re all wishing we’d done our Christmas shopping regularly throughout the year like we always tell ourselves we will.

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Thanks to everyone who came to our Super Intensive Day in mid October – we hope you enjoyed the content and are enjoying your free trial of our new online learning program, Education Bites.

Thanks also to all of you who helped us with our fundraiser for the Kaden Centre – one way and another we raised over $13,000 for this fantastic cause and we couldn’t have done it without you. One of the reasons we took the step a few years ago to pick one organisation and really focus our support was that we felt we could do more good by getting 70 people behind one cause than if our individual efforts were spread across many. It was the usual argument that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and it has certainly proven to be true. 

But your help made this even more significant. 

And finally, thanks to so many of you who wrote encouraging emails about our two “Freshen Up Fridays” during October and last week where it was tools down for the whole office from 1pm. It amazed me how a compulsory afternoon off, just twice, could make such an enormous difference – and I’m saying this from my own perspective as much as anyone else’s! I switched my computer off exactly as instructed at 1pm on both days and deliberately did things completely unrelated to work (and did not clean the house or do the shopping). But we received over 200 emails from our clients supporting the initiative which made it even more special. It’s obviously not the kind of thing we or any other business can do all the time but it’s certainly another learning I will take away from the pandemic – asking your entire team to treat themselves as an afternoon off and getting the support from clients to do that is actually worth far more to both them and the company than just adding time to their annual leave balance.

And while Heffron was running its own race during October, it seems there was much movement afoot in businesses in or near the SMSF industry. We’ve seen at least three big announcements in the last few weeks – CountPlus buying Accurium, Hub24 buying Class and Netwealth making an offer for Praemium (albeit his has been rejected for now). Of course M&A activity in our space is a fact of life – and in our 23 year history we’ve bought a small number of businesses ourselves, just on a slightly different scale to these ones. Between around 2012-2017, there was a huge amount of activity but the most relevant for SMSFs was around scaling administration businesses – with AMP buying up some industry heavyweights (Cavendish, Multiport, Super Concepts, More Super, Just Super and there were definitely more). 

The acquisitions over the last few weeks are different – to me as an outside observer they look more like existing businesses with a strong SMSF presence are buying adjacent businesses to expand their offering into different areas. That makes sense – SMSFs need a lot of different services and it’s difficult to keep growing in just one direction. Looking back, it’s one of the benefits we’ve had at Heffron in that while we might have started with technical / consulting advice and administration, expanding that into actuarial certificates, education, documents, phone support etc has really helped us ensure we’re always growing and changing regardless of what’s happening.

So October has certainly been busy in so many ways and I wonder what November will bring. Next time I write, it will be December – and that’s a scary thought!

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