Unit registry systems provider Pentafin and separately managed account provider Direct Portfolio are finalising details of a merger.

It is expected that the majority shareholders on both sides of the transaction will continue to have significant stakes in the merged organisation. Pentafin is controlled by non-executive director Michael Cole. Direct Portfolio, started by John Aldersley, is controlled by Ascalon Capital Managers, which is in turn owned by St George Bank and Kaplan Equity. The two companies announced the merger plans last week after speculation in the market about Aldersley withdrawing from full-time work with Direct Portfolio. They said that, after finalising the merger, Connie McKeage, the chief executive of Pentafin, would be chief executive of the merged group. Ascalon, headed by fund manager Nick Basile, has stepped up its activity level this year, buying control last month of the Private Collection retail third-party marketing company. Pentafin has about 30 staff and Direct Portfolio about 15.

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