Most influential: Stephen van Eyk

FOR THE second year running Stephen van Eyk has secured a place in the Most Influential list, and deservedly so.

The ever-modest managing director of van Eyk Research toldMoney Managementhe was very surprised to be included in the list, as all he has done over the last year was do what he perceived was right.

But if the ability to succeed in encouraging a major Australian fund manager to drop its fees and provide rebates to investors doesn’t spell influence, then what does?

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Under threat of a sell rating from the van Eyk Research group earlier this month, BT Funds Management (bought by the Westpac Bank in August) dropped the fees on its flagship BT Australian Share Fund. It will now pay back to investors one-third of the ongoing management fees earned from the fund between November 1, 2002 and April 30, 2003.

The measure was agreed to at a series of meetings between BT and van Eyk, where van Eyk himself warned BT of the consequences of a sell rating. Van Eyk says the fee reduction will cost BT somewhere in the order of $3 million over six months.

“I told BT if they did something meaningful they may be able to turn around industry opinion or at least stop the outflows,” van Eyk said at the time.

Panellist Ken Breakspear says: “Stephen is highly respected, he has integrity. His firm’s ratings have enormous influence.”

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