The intense speculation around Perpetual Investments’ backoffice has been laid to rest by group executive for structured products and platforms, Eric Wang, who last month said that RBC Dexia Investor Services’ contract had been extended following a review.
However Wang refused to say how long the extension was for, citing commercial confidentiality. In explaining his operations team’s decision to opt for ‘business as usual’, he emphasised “capacity” as an issue given his team has two other major projects in implementation.
Wang would not comment on market speculation that State Street Investor Services had been a close contender to usurp RBC Dexia during the investment admin and custody review, and that Perpetual and State Street had progressed as far as contractual negotiations. In better news for State Street last month, it was retained by PIMCO as custodian and administrator for $6 billion of the bond manager’s Australiandomiciled trusts.
The WealthFocus Investment Advantage platform will begin taking money on November 10, allowing investors to switch between 76 underlying funds without crystallising any capital gains tax, thanks to an ATO product ruling.
Wang’s team is also digesting the acquisition of SmartSuper, the selfmanaged super administration platform which takes Perpetual to $3.5 billion under SMSF administration – that is just 1 per cent of Australia’s largest and fastest-growing super segment, but amazingly, according to Wang, makes Perpetual the largest player. “The SmartSuper acquisition works because they had an unbundled SMSF product, we didn’t, but what we could add was the distribution network to take it to more advisers, particularly as the regulatory oversight of SMSFs continues to tighten.”
Wang said another outcome of the review was that Perpetual reaffirmed its strategy of retaining in-house staff to run its unit registry system, which sits on Bravura’s Sonata Business Services workflow management and document imaging platform.