Auckland-headquartered investment administration firm MMC has acquired the remaining half of Australian administrator IFAA Group from interests associated with its managing director and co-founder Neil Harvey.
MMC bought its first slice of IFAA last March for an undisclosed sum.
Harvey, who remains in the managing director role after the deal’s completion, said the firm would continue to look for expansion opportunities outside IFAA’s traditional base of Queensland.
He has been speaking with super funds and other prospects in Sydney and Melbourne since last year, when MMC made its initial purchase in IFAA and was also looking to grow the company in other areas, such as non-super administration.
Tom Reiher, MMC co-founder and managing director, said IFAA’s historical success proved there were strong opportunities in the superannuation and managed investment services sector in Australia.
“We are very positive about the opportunities in the sector and that the IFAA Group is the right vehicle to expand our footprint in Australia,” Reiher said. “The arrangement we made with the IFAA Group in early 2020 was always intended to be our long-term entry point into Australia.”
An MMC statement says the IFAA move could see the group export its “investment solutions and services to Australia over time”.
“In the meantime, MMC’s commitment to delivering the highest level of day-to-day investment administration services and bringing innovation to their New Zealand clients remains their focus,” the statement says.
IFAA was founded in the late 1990s after Colonial exited that part of the market through administrator Jacques Martin Industry and Industry Fund Services first bought into the sector. IFS later took full control and started what became SuperPartners, now a part of Link Group.
Both Harvey and Cathy Connellan, IFAA’s general manager of client service, worked together at Jacques Martin. With MMC as its cornerstone investor last year, IFAA strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of Andrew Griffioen as CEO and Karen Walden-White as CEO of IFAA group company Superannuation Compliance Services. The third company in the group is Independent Professional Services, which provides admin, accounting and unit registry to investment platforms.
Clinton Nicholas has also been appointed IFAA Group chief information officer while Adam Somerville recently returned to the firm as financial services manager.
IFAA was a victim of consolidation in the super industry, losing most of is larger clients to amalgamation, which saw its total staff decline from about 160 to its current level of about 30.
Harvey maintains a minority interest in a Brisbane-based financial planning company, ‘My Super Future’, which started out providing intra-fund advice to IFAA clients and has expanded into standalone individual advice.
Harvey said: “Over our 22 years, we have proven ourselves as a client-focused and dedicated provider of tailored services and our team are keen to reset and grow the business alongside MMC. Our relationship with MMC has strengthened over the past 12 months and I am looking forward to their ongoing support to enable the Group to be a real alternative to other providers of services in our market.”
Post the buy-out, IFAA would continue to operate independently, the MMC statement says.
Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)