Equity Trustees turns in strong first half

Equity Trustees (EQT)has reported a 92 per cent increase in its net profit for the six months ending December 31.

The financial services company recorded a $3.6 million profit. Revenue for the company was up 36.9 per cent for the six months to $15.8 million which compared to $11.5 million in the corresponding period last year.

EQT managing director Peter Williams said the result showed the company had maintained its focus on core revenue streams combined with strong operating controls.

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“The very strong growth in the Private Clients business unit is partially attributable to recent changes updating the legislation dealing with ongoing trusts,” he said.

“In addition, this business unit has been working very hard to ensure that we achieve growth in our wealth management services as well as in our traditional trustee services.”

Williams said the proposed changes to superannuation were also providing opportunities in the company’s self-managed superannuation fund business.

Another growth area was the funds management business, especially the Responsible Entity services operation with EQT picking up a number of US fund managers wanting to use this service to enter the Australian market.

Williams said the year ahead will see the company growing its master trust business and it has already announced the acquisition of the Freedom of Choice platform from Australian Unity. The platform has $150 million of funds under administration and approximately 5,500 clients.

Australian Unity has owned the platform for more than 10 years, however, it never attracted major funds inflows during that period.

As the negotiations and approvals for the acquisition of the master trust are underway, no acquisition price has been announced by either party.

Williams said the growth of the EQT business meant the company was on track to achieve a pre-tax profit in excess of $9.5 million.

EQT will pay a half-year, fully franked dividend of 30 cents per share, which is up 50 per cent on the corresponding period last year.

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