Assirtassociate director Anthony Serhan left the research house last week, bringing the total number of departures from the group to four in as many months.
His departure follows on from that of product manager Derek Cotton, who left the group earlier this month, and head of research John Parrish, who left in July and is yet to be replaced. Assirt chief executive Krystyna Weston also left the group this year, joining AMP Henderson’s Global Investors in April.
Weston was replaced by Sealcorp’s director of investments and insurance, Caroline Saunders, who now has a dual role of managing Assirt’s funds research business in addition to her responsibilities with Sealcorp.
Serhan, who spent four years with Assirt, says he will remain in the industry and is currently looking at working within funds management or continuing in research, although he has not revealed his next stop in the industry.
His departure coincides with the continuing integration of the Assirt business back into the St George group after it had been spun out to Sealcorp to create Wealthpoint in September 2000. However, less than 12 months later, the group was repurchased by St George, the parent group of Sealcorp, bringing Assirt in alongside Sealcorp.
Since that time, the constituent parts of Wealthpoint, which included an equities research group and a technology company, have either been sold off or merged back into the group, while the Wealthpoint Financial Services adviser software has been merged into Sealcorp’s AdviserNet software package.
The news of Serhan’s departure caps off a busy week for Assirt, which also applied its first ‘sell’ recommendation to a funds management group after introducing the new rating category just under two weeks ago.
Saunders says the decision to add a sell category was driven by the need to have a rating which reflected when funds were no longer covered by the group’s star ratings and were considered to have the potential to adversely impact performance.
“Assirt had the equivalent of a sell rating in the past when funds were rated A to D but looking at the ratings system now, one star did not say that a fund should be rated as a ‘sell’. This adds more clarity to the ratings, which advisers want, and as a ratings house, we don’t serve our clients if we do not do that,” Saunders says.
Assirt used the sell rating in relation to BT Funds Management’s Australian equities, Australian fixed interest and diversified fund products.