St George names 11 managers as ‘preferred partners’

Geoff Lloyd

St George Wealth Management has selected 11 fund managers to join its preferred partners program, announcing in the process that it has scrapped a controversial upfront fee of $200,000 it initially proposed for membership of the program.

The selected managers are AXA, BT Funds Management, Barclay Global Investors, Challenger Financial Services Group, Colonial First State, Deutsche Asset Management, Macquarie Funds Management, Blackrock Investment Management Australia (formerly Merrill Lynch), Principal Global Investors, Schroders Investment Management and UBS Global Asset Management.

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These were selected from a preliminary list of 20 managers that were invited by St George to tender for membership of the program, as well as “additional managers that requested unsuccessfully to be added to the tender list”.

St George general manager — wealth Geoff Lloyd said the “enormous response” to the tender process, and the quality of the member offerings, persuaded St George “not to charge the preferred members anything upfront”.

Claiming it was incorrect for the media to have described the upfront payment as a “shelf fee” for participation on the Asgard Wealth Solutions platform, Lloyd said it was “only ever proposed as an upfront payment of the rebate itself, and never anything more than that”.

Remuneration for participation in the preferred partners program will “take the form of ongoing rebates based on FUA administered on the Asgard platform in respect of their funds”, Lloyd said.

He said the group “remained committed to offering a broad choice of funds on the Asgard platform for advisers and investors, and “fund managers who are not part of the program will continue to have funds on the platform as they always have”.

“If a particular fund has cleared all the existing quantitative and qualitative hurdles around investment performance and service, and has strong demand from advisers and investors, it will be on our platform whether the manager is in the program or not.”

Independent researcher Standard & Poor’s has been engaged to help construct the menus and recommended portfolios in order to “ensure rigour and objectivity is brought to the process”.

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