Former Russell Investments head of consulting, Daniel Mussett, has launched a new business targeting wholesale investors.
Mussett, who resigned from Russell last year, said his recently-formed ALSA Consulting already has three clients signed up, including two government agencies and a not-for-profit trust.
“And I am currently in negotiations with a few other investors,” he said.
Mussett is working on a joint government project with another Russell refugee, ex NZ chief Ed Schuck, now principal of Fidato Advisory.
According to Mussett, there was a developing niche in New Zealand’s institutional investor space for independent advisory firms that don’t offer in-house products.
“The market for high-end advice in New Zealand is dynamic right now, perhaps more so than ever before,” he said, with traditional investment consultancy firms also offering funds management solutions.
“Recent corporate activity has muddied the waters still further.”
Mussett said institutional investors are also looking for third-party assistance to select an implemented consultant or review their incumbent asset consultants.
“Very few people in today’s market are free of conflicts of interest and fewer still have the expertise, knowledge and experience to advise investors at this level effectively,” he said.
“There is also a segment of smaller wholesale investors who need help but cannot afford the fees that larger advisory firms demand.”
ALSA would focus on delivering strategic advice, including asset allocation, rather than recommending underlying managers or products, Mussett said.
“Practical, fact-based analysis can go a long way in helping clients narrow down their choice of provider,” he said. “That said, I will be recommending the use of specialist providers who are better placed than I am to advise on specific products, if and when that becomes necessary.”
ALSA – for Asset-Liability Strategic Advice – also taps in to a wide range of investment research resources, he said.
“No single provider of research has a monopoly on wisdom, and being independent permits a smorgasbord approach, which should be beneficial,” Mussett said. “My challenge – one I relish – will be to filter and interpret the available viewpoints and form a practical, balanced view that best serves my clients’ needs.”