Zurich takes Lonsdale

Zurich is to secure the 20 per cent of Lonsdale it does not already before offering shareholdings to Lonsdale’s 100 advisers.

Zurich is to secure the 20 per cent of Lonsdale it does not already before offering shareholdings to Lonsdale’s 100 advisers.

Lonsdale’s sell off will go through on July 1 and after that time Lonsdale will put in place moves to offer advisers a shareholding in the dealer group.

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Lonsdale co-founder Andrew Wheeler will head the group as chief executive offi-cer while Richard Mika, the other co-founder, will run the software company Lonsdale Technologies.

Wheeler says the exact nature of the new set-up and shareholder arrangement have yet to be decided but planners will be consulted and not forced into a model in a “like it or lump it” style.

"We are currently looking at how best to structure the company and will invite a number of advisers to workshop issues such as corporate ownership, the group name and proposed benefits for higher revenue generating advisers," Wheeler says.

"The aim is to retain the niche nature of the group, not to have a planner on every corner, with the right incentives to help grow the business for the benefit of all planners."

Wheeler says the reason for the shift to a shareholding model is to return to the core focus of adviser related activity and to create a measure of independence within the Zurich group.

"There will be some shareholders and a board partly set up with financial advisers from the group as well as an independent, external chair," Wheeler says.

"It will work upon similar lines as Australian Financial Services and have that measure of independence since there will be outside shareholders and board mem-bers."

The Australian Financial Services dealer group is also a Zurich subsidiary with members owning 49 per cent of the business.

"This has been Zurich's philosophy entirely in its relationships with some of its other subsidiaries…where members share in the success in terms of both growth and income," Wheeler says.

This new approach will see the Lonsdale group divest itself of other arms involved in technology development, share broking, software sales and marketing, research and wrap account administration. However Wheeler says these will not be cut adrift but will work as separate commercial groups.

"These areas will be moved out as individual entities but we plan to still make full use of them. We have long standing commercial agreements for products and services but if there is a failure to deliver we will look elsewhere," Wheeler says.

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