Findex Group, which now has A$15 billion under management and administration from the retail sector, has recruited two big names to oversee its investments, following the insourcing of advice and admin from Philo Capital.
Findex, or Financial Index Wealth Accountants, bought the Australian and New Zealand arms of accountancy firm Crowe Horwath this January.
Philo’s Stephen Karrasch has landed at boutique Australian investment firm Aurora Funds as the new head of distribution. It’s an interwoven story.
Philo Capital, a provider of investment valuation software (PhiloPort), asset allocation and administration services, particularly for the managed accounts market, was nurtured into the former Centric Wealth financial planning dealer group by that firm’s then-chair, Chris Cuffe, the famed former head of Colonial First State who developed the first big wrap platform for the Australian market, to challenge the then-leader, St George Bank-owned ASGARD, in the early 2000s.
Cuffe’s vision at Centric, from 2009 to 2012, was to streamline the solutions for advisers and their clients and give them greater flexibility and transparency through managed accounts rather than managed funds.
Philo, founded by Brett Sanders and Ashley Owen, transitioned to Centric about $3 billion in separately managed account money over the four years up until its contract was terminated at December 31. Findex had taken over Centric earlier last year, rationalized some of the positions to achieve synergies, and decided to insource all the investment capabilities.
The two big names Findex has recruited to its investment committee are Chris Condon, a former CIO of MLC and, before that, head of investment consulting at Russell Investments, and Emmanuel Calligeris who ran ING Group’s former masterfund, Optimix, for about 20 years. The investment committee independently mandates Findex’s approved product list. More problematic for Philo, Findex also recently recruited Stefano Cavaglia as head of investment research. He was head of funds-of-funds at Philo.
For Karrasch, an experienced marketer with strong NZ connections dating back to Rothschild Australia Asset Management, where he was head of retail distribution, prior to its purchase by Westpac in 2002, the move to Aurora Funds is a return to offering pure investment capabilities across a range of strategies at both the institutional and retail level.
* Greg Bright is publisher of Investor Strategy News (Australia)