InTech’s largest remaining external client, the $1.8 billion ClearView Managed Investments, will consider walking away now that the consultant’s parent, Skandia, is to be bought by financial planning competitors to ClearView.
ClearView’s head of product and dealer group services, Michael Abbott, said that once Skandia/InTech was purchased this week by IOOF and Australian Wealth Management (AWM), and they themselves merged (as expected by April), InTech would be part of an entity that owned several financial planning dealer groups in direct competition with its own, ClearView Retirement Solutions.
Abbott, who was informed of the deal on Saturday, said ClearView would also need to consider InTech’s continuing ability to offer impartial advice on investment philosophy and funds manager selection, now that it would be part of a group that owned a funds manager in Perennial Investment Partners.
ClearView’s latest three-year contract with Intech was about to expire, Abbott said, and an internal tender would be run once InTech’s immediate future became clearer.
InTech will be one of three constructors of multimanager portfolios in the new entity, alongside the AWM-vintage United Funds Management and IOOF’s Investor Solutions.
Soon-to-be managing director of the merged IOOF and AWM business, Chris Kelaher, said consolidating these three divisions would produce synergies, although he admitted the InTech business had "not been fundamental" to the decision to purchase Skandia.
IOOF CEO Tony Robinson said the investment menus produced by the three discrete multimanager businesses all had a following, and would all be retained.
At a price of just $34 million for a total of more than $8 billion across Skandia’s platform and InTech’s multimanager trusts (including the ClearView contract), Kelaher admitted it was one of the cheapest deals he had ever done in terms of payment for funds under management/administration.
James Greenhalgh, senior analyst at independent research provider The Intelligent Investor, said Kelaher had a track record of quickly stripping costs and extracting synergies from platforms he acquired. Skandia will be one of several major platforms in the new entity – from the AWM side there’s Spectrum Super and The Portfolio Service, while IOOF has its own Portfolio Service, as well Pursuit Select/Pursuit Core and LifeTrack.
Given Kelaher’s stated focus on consolidating and integrating these, Greenhalgh said he would not be surprised if InTech were sold off should an attractive enough offer be received.