Aegis clients are in line for a front-end upgrade as new owners, MMC, start work on re-energising the faded platform after officially settling the deal last week.
In a release to Aegis users post-settlement, Tom Reiher, MMC managing director, said the fund administration firm was looking to integrate a range of front-end tools offered by fellow Auckland firm, Invsta, in the investment platform.
MMC took a small stake in Invsta in November with plans to offer its own fund administration clients access to the fintech’s software that includes “onboarding and investment transacting” facilities.
“With MMC’s focus on investing in technology, work is already underway with Invsta to offer these very same smart solutions to Aegis advisors and their clients,” Reiher said. “The Aegis team will be starting to engage with a number of advisors shortly for feedback and suggestions. This is in line with our push for improved process efficiencies through automation right across the MMC business.”
For the time-being, however, MMC would settle the ship to ensure a smooth transition under the new ownership, he said, “with no impact on Aegis advisors and their clients”
“The next step will be starting to engage with advisors to understand the frustrations currently experienced,” Reiher said. “Our approach will be to look for synergies where they exist, to implement business process efficiencies and to provide a better advisor and client experience.”
Aegis staff have already been relocated to temporary premises at GridAKL,12 Madden Street, just round the corner from their previous home in ASB North Wharf. But the platform crew will shift next year to new permanent quarters – currently in fit-out mode – in a floor adjacent to the main MMC fund admin operations at 125 Queen St.
Launched in 1998 by then ASB subsidiary, Sovereign, Aegis was for a long-time the market-leading investment platform in NZ. Recently, however, the Wellington-originated platform provider, FNZ, surpassed Aegis in funds under administration (FUA).
Announcing the sale to MMC in October, ASB reported Aegis FUA of about $16 billion – a benchmark FNZ breached earlier this year.
Aegis also suffered from years of under-investment by ASB, with its Australian owner, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, showing little appetite for wealth management in general. Over the last couple of years most Australian banks have rushed to the wealth management exits, hurried along last year by the Royal Commission into financial services.
Regardless, Aegis lost Hobson Wealth Partners, which confirmed just before the MMC sale it would jump to rival NZX Wealth Technologies – with others reportedly looking to move.
Reiher said MMC is “looking to improve the delivery of Aegis services by leveraging our technology and skills to upgrade the existing Aegis platform”.
Last week the fund admin business, half-owned by private equity concern Pencarrow, also revealed a management reshuffle that included hiring Fisher Funds chief operating officer, Vedran Babic, as CEO.
Babic formally takes up the MMC chief executive job next February.
“We are committed to continuing to invest in MMC and supporting our teams as we embark on the next chapter of our growth…,” Reiher said. “Our back office is our front office and we look forward to continuing to deliver industry leading services to our clients and advisors alike.”
With Aegis, MMC has about $75 billion in FUA, including $60 billion of traditional fund admin business managed on behalf of 29 clients.