by Greg Bright
Fund managers are under extreme pressure because of fee compression and rising costs and financial planners are under extreme pressure because of fee restructuring and the reputational damage due to the Royal Commission. There has never been a better time to stand up for both groups, says Connie Mckeage.
The founder and chief executive of OneVue said last week, after acquiring the education business of Evolution Media’s ‘No More Practice’ (NMPE), that the industry had to come out of this stronger – “but we have to be careful to ensure the pendulum doesn’t swing too far the other way”, she said.
“Most planners are honest and do a good job and most fund managers are too. A lot of effort has gone into developing this industry infrastructure, supported by companies such as OneVue and our new partner – No More Practice Education. It is not in anyone’s interests to see all that go to waste.”
From OneVue’s strategic perspective, the acquisition will provide a wider and sometimes stronger connection between fund managers and advisors. It will also provide a larger footprint into the world of direct investing because of NMPE’s broadcast financial education programs and internet video delivery of advice content.
“Our over-arching strategy is that we want to connect fund managers more directly with advisors,” Mckeage said. “We currently do the back office for 45 fund managers and that number is set to double over the next 18 months. We have just crossed the $500 billion mark for funds under administration. [NMPE] gives us an additional reach of about 20,000 advisors and accountants and about 12,000 additional investors.”
In a presentation to Goldman Sachs, released to the ASX last week just after the company had also acquired the KPMG Superannuation business, which doubled OneVue’s funds under superannuation administration, Mckeage said that in the first half of the financial year, the business had: increased revenue 27 per cent to $23.5 million; more than tripled EBITDA to $3.6 million; and, lifted operating cashflow by $1.4 million to $3.3 million.
Vanessa Stoykov, who founded Evolution Media in 1999, which in turn founded No More Practice, the precursor to NMPE, in 2007, said that her move into television was the “eye-opener” to the possibilities that existed in investor and advisor education and the important educational capabilities of fund managers.
Evolution Media, a company which she retains, started life as a marketing and public relations firm. The PR bit was sold to BlueChip Communications in 2010 which allowed Evolution to concentrate on video – both broadcast, initially on Channel 7 digital as well as Sky, and via the internet – and developing new marketing strategies for clients.
Stoykov met Mckeage when NMPE launched an “After Hours” video series online. Mckeage, who was on the show, rated highly, Stoykov says, “and she subsequently gave me great advice over the last four or five years that I have known her. We became friends”.
Stoykov said: “I really admire Connie. She is inspirational. She has backed herself all the way along, with time, energy and her own money. I’d like to think I have done similarly.”
In a separate ASX announcement, OneVue said the financials behind the acquisition of NMPE involved: a cash payment of $1.1 million; an additional payment of up to $1 million this September, contingent on reaching certain targets; and, a three-year payment of up to $2.9 million in OneVue shares, also based on achieving certain targets.
As well, OneVue has entered into a long-term contract with Evolution Media to supply the continuing content for the video and other educational series. It has also contracted Stoykov as a consultant and recruited, as it new head of marketing, long-time Evolution general manager and, more recently, managing director of, and shareholder in, NMPE, Marcus Field.
Evolution Media retains several important clients for which it produces videos and documentaries. They include Orbis Australia and its global business and AIA Insurance. All the clients of NMPE have remained post acquisition, Stoykov says, and “have greeted the new union with enthusiasm”.
Stoykov is launching her first book early next month: “The Breakfast Club for 40 Somethings”. It’s a novel based on the high-school reunion of some outwardly successful friends who discover that their lives are not as good as they suggest they are. Money – and other things – tend to be a problem for all of them. “Books will be a big part of my future, I hope,” Stoykov says.
She started her career, after graduating from university, as the first cadet journalist on ‘Investor Weekly’ in late 1994 and then moved into funds management marketing with Zurich and the former EquitiLink, where she was instrumental in the establishment of the Fund Executives Association Ltd (FEAL), with her then-boss, Ouma Sananikone, and the organisation’s first chair, Michael Dwyer, now chief executive of First State Super.