MDA operator signs boutique firm


By Alisha Buaya

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Specialist managed discretionary account (MDA) operator is expected to add to its $1 billion-plus in assets under administration after signing on a Melbourne-based advisory firm.

The newly listed company on Friday informed the market Moran Howlett Financial Planning had agreed to use the company’s MDA solution.

As a result of the arrangement, the firm was expected to phase out the use of wrap platforms and self-managed superannuation fund administration software over the next few years.

The Melbourne-based advisory firm, with about 350 clients and $160 million in assets under advice, signed a deal with to integrate the MDA structure over the next few years.

The self-licensed practice uses Westpac-owned Asgard, Macquarie Wrap and Class Super.

The MDA solution would “dramatically reduce” the firm’s administration workload, boost efficiencies and lead to enhanced returns for clients through lower administration costs, Moran Howlett Financial Planning principal Paul Moran said.

“As a mature business, we need to go up another level in terms of efficiency and an MDA solution will deliver that efficiency plus greater flexibility,” Moran said.

He said the planning firm’s existing platforms had been useful, but were unable to incorporate term deposits into their models, and their integration of managed funds and shares was weak.

“As a result, we’ve been managing over 400 individual term deposits, which are monitored and renewed with ongoing client correspondence,” he said.

“Our clients automatically expect us to make those sorts of investment decisions on their behalf and they don’t understand why we have to keep asking them. It’s our single biggest administration burden.”

The failure of the major platform providers to deliver promised managed account capabilities would only fuel the movement, he said.

“That was a good thing because, in our experience, everyone promises stuff they can’t deliver and certainly not in a reasonable time frame. When they do finally deliver, it’s never what you expected,” he said. listed on the Australian Securities Exchange on 25 June.

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