Zenith to provide voting guidance to financial advisers

Zenith has announced it will now provide formal recommendations on how financial advisers should vote in the best interests of their clients on investment matters that require an investor vote.

The growth in investment vehicles has underpinned an increase in investment managers requiring unit holders to approve material changes, such as changes to the investment manager, strategy, fees, and for listed vehicles, M&A activity, the investment research provider said.

Zenith said the market has now reached a tipping point where advisers are increasingly being asked by their clients which way they should vote for a proposed change, often with limited time to decide and with extensive documentation to read.

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Citing an example, Zenith said WAM Capital’s current bidder’s statement for Wealth Defender Equities is an 84-page document that advisers need to absorb and interpret before deciding if the move is in the best interests of their client base.

They will then need to decide what decision will be best for individual clients once the voting results are formalised, Zenith said.

Zenith managing partner David Wright said while the research provider has provided voting advice on a case-by-case basis for many years, it recognised the need for Zenith to fully commit to this pledge in supporting the best interest duty of its adviser clients.

“Our goal is to free up time for advisers and equip them with the tools to make an informed decision for their clients,” Wright said.

Zenith said it is currently preparing a voting recommendation for its advice client base covering the Wealth Defender Equities deal.

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Nicholas, I wonder how Zenith can say they are preparing advice about how to 'vote' on the transaction you specifically write about when the transaction involves no vote at all. The acquisition by WAM of Wealth Defender Equities is an off-market takeover bid, not a scheme of arrangement.

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