Grove Research and Advisory has continued on its deal-making way with a merger with Peter Williamson’s Counterpoint Group, making for a consulting firm advising about $10 billion in assets.
The latest deal, the third this year following a takeout of the S&P consulting business in Australia and a restructure with WA Local Government Super buying the 50 per cent of Grove owned by funds manager Apostle, may be soon be followed by “two or three other possibilities in the pipeline”, according to Brett Westbrook, an executive director.
After the latest deal, Grove has two staff, including Williamson, in Perth and 18, including Counterpoint’s other shareholders John Parrish and Philip Chow, in Sydney. Both firms advised on about $5 billion in assets, with Grove having a stronger presence among local government authorities, dealer groups, insurance funds, and offshore funds, and Counterpoint in traditional mid-size super funds. Grove has also done some work with funds managers, such as Pengana and Macquarie, assisting in product development.
Simon Ibbetson, who joined Grove as managing director this year with a team from S&P, remains managing director of the merged firm.
He said: “We’re in the process of building a diversified financial services advisory business, across clients, and with an administration platform.
“We want to add value for clients. We are targeting large platforms and dealer groups and super funds between $1-5 billion in assets but we are careful not to put our good ideas out there and see them diluted away. We’re carefully managing our growth.”
Westbrook said that points of differentiation with some other consulting firms were that Grove did not, and would not, manage investment product, and was independently owned.
Ross Wraight, Grove’s non-executive chairman, said the firm would be further expanding its operations in New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East.
One of the insurance company clients is a big firm based in Dubai, which Ibbetson advises, along with the various offshore pension funds sponsored by the Amcor group, which he has advised for nearly 10 years.