Provisca, an international distribution business launched last month by two veterans of the cross-border financial services industry, today is announcing that it is to market and oversee the distribution of the Momentum Wealth International investment platform outside of South Africa.
The announcement represents the first major business partnership for Bryan Low and Nigel Watson’s fledgling, UK-based company, Provisca, which they say they conceived in response to an un-met need in the marketplace for a channel capable of bringing established, well-regulated, “blue chip” investment products to investors in markets outside of their own.
Such companies, they say, are typically popular and hugely successful in their own countries but little known elsewhere, and often lack the marketing infrastructure in international markets that they would need to become more visible.
The Momentum Wealth International platform, which is based in Guernsey, is one of the product offerings of the major, Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed, South African insurance and financial services company MMI Holdings, which was formed in 2010 by the merger of two South African businesses, Metropolitan Holdings and Momentum Group.
According to Provisca, the interactive online Momentum platform offers international advisers and their clients “global access 24/7 to information and reporting, with online tools to help build and manage [their] investment portfolios, and independent fund information provided by Morningstar”.
Initially, Provisca said in a statement announcing its partnership with Momentum, it will be distributing two wealth management product offerings which are currently available on the Momentum platform: the Personal Portfolio, a general investment account designed for “investors with a medium to long term investment horizon who require maximum flexibility and easy access to their offshore investments whenever they need it”; and the International Portfolio Bond, an open architecture portfolio bond with certain traditional tax planning advantages normally found in insurance products.
Provisca co-founder and sales director Watson, (pictured left, above, with Low), said the Momentum International platform already has US$1.8bn of assets under administration, but that most of these assets, for now, still originate from Momentum’s home market of South Africa.
He added that the main, South Africa-based Momentum platform, of which the Guernsey international platform is a part, is “thoroughly tried and tested, with 20 years of trading in the domestic South African market, where it has over US$9bn of assets under administration”.
The Momentum international platform’s key selling points, he said, are its two portfolio products – the Personal Portfolio and International Portfolio Bond, which provide access to a range of fund management groups and funds, as well as DFM managed portfolios – along with its ease of use, and such extras as its multi-currency facility.
Advisers are also able to create their own charging and commission structure on a client-by-client basis, Watson added.
Watson and Low say they chose the name “Provisca” for their new “international financial brand development” company because it is not known to have any meaning in any language, nor are there believed to be any other companies that use it.
The two executives have known one another for decades, having both worked at Scottish Provident International on the Isle of Man before it was acquired by Abbey National in 2001. Most recently Watson had been marketing and sales director for the past six years at VAM Funds, which was preceded by stints with Nexus Insurance Brokers and Standard Bank Offshore.
He is currently based in the UK.
Low, who is based in Edinburgh, was one of the founders and principals of Acuity Consultants, which for the past 15 years has advised many of the offshore financial services industry’s largest companies on their business strategies and market trends, including life insurance companies, fund managers and banking product providers.
Explaining the thinking behind his and Watson’s launch of Provisca, Low cited “a significant change in product solutions in the offshore market, with a clear flight to quality”.
This, he added, has created an opportunity for “large brands that have a successful home market business but which have no real access to, or knowledge of, the opportunities in international markets” to expand, which he noted is what he and Watson set Provisca up to help them to do.