As flagged in the prospectus of listed financial technology provider Praemium in April, stockbroking firm Tolhurst Noall has released a version of the Merrill Lynch separately managed account (SMA) service.

Praemium, which provides the technology supporting the Merrill Lynch product, revealed in is listing prospectus that Tolhurst had signed up to the SMA project. No other groups were named in the Praemium document as potential SMA clients, however, since then one of Australia’s largest financial firms, Count Financial, has thrown its support behind the Merrill/Praemium product. Under the terms of the agreement, Merrill has exclusive rights on the Praemium SMA technology until November 8, 2008, or when funds under administration reach $2.3 billion. The contract also required Merrill to pay Praemium 20 per cent of the SMA administration fee it will collect on the SMA product. According to Robert Davies, Tolhurst Noall retail broking development manager, its new SMA product included eight portfolio options created by both Merrill and Tolhurst. The number of portfolios on offer are expected to increase over the next few months. “As a stockbroking firm, where these services are traditionally linked, this will create new cross-selling opportunities that will improve performance of clients’ portfolios while making our advisers more efficient in the services and advice they provide to clients,” Davies said in a statement yesterday. Tolhurst has a network of over 100 advisers across Australia and a potential client base of 35,000 to sell the SMA to. On the same day as Tolhurst released its product another stockbroking firm, Leyland Private Asset Management, also announced the expansion of its SMA business. According to a statement from Leyland yesterday, the Sydney-based group has opened a Melbourne office to cater for the growing demand for its SMA service.

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