New pension product, record results for boardroom-bunfighting Praemium

Praemium, the ASX-listed, Melbourne-based platform services provider, today unveiled a new pension product for the UK and international markets, which it is in the process of beginning to roll out to what it calls its “IFA partner firms”.  

News of the new Praemium Retirement Account was contained in its latest quarterly results statement, which showed record inflows to its UK and international business, and its second-highest quarterly inflows ever as a company, of  A$465m (£280.8m, US$349), as total funds under administration (FUA) grew at an annualised rate of 34% to A$5.68bn.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning, the company said the first inflows from its Retirement Account are expected in the next quarter.

The pension product is being unveiled just seven months after Praemium announced, last September, that it was to acquire the Cumbria, UK-based Wensley Mackay self-invested personal pension (SIPP) business, for £600,000.

Rebecca Murphy, director of sales and marketing for Praemium’s London-based UK and international operation, said the retirement product gave financial advisers “one more tool” to they could use to provide a rounded advice offering to their clients at a competitive price, as regulatory change around the world is making the transparency and efficiency of platforms more attractive.

Advisers and their clients who make use of Praemium’s platforms already are able to make use of its risk-rated, multi-asset Smart Investment Management portfolios, introduced in 2013, and its proprietary CRM system called Wealthcraft,which it obtained via an acquisition of a Hong Kong-based company of that name in 2012, Murphy noted.

“Our clients are telling us they need the efficiency platform technology gives them, because new transparency means that all their fees and charges are visible to their clients,” she said.

She said this was reflected in the fact that Praemium had seen “a huge increase” in enquiries from firms in the UK and international markets, and noted that more than 20% of the company’s UK and international platform inflows had come from new clients signed up in the 2017 financial year.

As reported, Praemium has been in the news recently as a result of a dispute, sparked by disgruntled shareholders’ group’s efforts to bring back the company’s recently-terminated chief executive, Michael Ohanessian, whose departure was announced just a week after the company had delivered a 39% EBITDA growth in its half-year results in February.

On 4 April,  Praemium announced that a meeting requested by the shareholders, during which a vote on the company’s board would be held, would take place on 12 May.

Other key points from the Praemium’s latest results statement:

  •  The Australian business posted quarterly inflows for the three months to the end of March of A$281m, 29% ahead of the same quarter in 2016
  • Praemium’s in-house investment management proposition, the Smart range, saw assets grow to £375m, or A$611m, representing a 70% increase.
  • Its Smartfund 80% Protected range of multi-asset funds saw FUA reach £157m, a 42% increase over the previous quarter, boosted by record inflows of £38m.

Praemium funds under administration, flows, by region

International FUA in GBP is translated at spot rate for the quarter end FUA (0.6126) and quarterly average for inflows (0.6119).
 Otherᶺ : Includes changes in market value of assets, foreign exchange movements (for international FUA) and fund outflows
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

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