That report’s ‘recommended’ rating, combined with some allegedly generous commissions, convinced many AIOFP-linked planners to invest in Alpha Strategic. After $118 million disappeared into a murk of British Virgin Island SPVs and spiv brokers, the Association hired a private investigator to help affected members recover client monies.
There has been mention in other trade media of Rob McGregor’s one-month employment, during July 2009, as an asset consultant to Astarra’s Diversified Fund. However Johnston described that balanced fund as Astarra’s “good” product, as opposed to the “bad” Strategic Fund, with which he said McGregor had no involvement. He blamed elements within the big banks, annoyed at AIOFP for taking away platform trusteeship, for feeding media the story.
AIOFP will fund its services to members via a 25 per cent take of the profits from the Filtered Research Committee, and a 2 per cent interest in the PCM Private platform. Johnston said funds managers would pay a “modest” shelf space fee to appear on the platform, provided such fees are not explicitly banned.
Johnston said dealer groups owning their own platforms was the “way of the future”. If the dealer group owned its own platform, the profits from it could be paid back to planners and end-clients as genuine “dividends”, rather than the volume-based rebates which are set to be banned, Johnston explained.