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Spicers make a Sterling investment

AXA has managed to get hold of the Sterling Portfolio Management business after missing out on it nearly two years ago.

Thursday, March 27th 2003, 2:27AM

by Philip Macalister

AXA's wealth management arm, Spicers Portfolio Management, announced yesterday that it had acquired Sterling from Dorchester Pacific for an undisclosed sum.

Sterling, which has bout $140 million in funds under management and 14 advisers, has gone through a number of ownership changes in the past couple of years. Originally it was set up by Roger Moses and Gary Stevens as Reeves Moses Hudig. Sovereign bought the business then sold it to Australian consolidator Harts Group. After Harts fell over the receivers sold the business to listed company Dorchester Pacific ahead of AXA.

Dorchester managing director Brent King says he decided to sell the business after being approached by AXA.

He says it is a natural fit for Spicers and the sale will allow Dorchester to concentrate on its core finance business.

King says Dorchester has done a lot of work tidying up the business, such as sorting out it contributory mortgage book. Spicers are getting a "lot tidier and cleaner business" than they would have two years ago, he says.

One of the key reasons Dorchester sold was that significant money and resources are required to grow a financial planning business like Sterling. King says Dorchester could have spent the money, but on balance felt it was better to sell the business to an organisation which had scale in this area, plus it let Dorchester "refocus on (its) core business areas."

Dorchester owns to other advisory businesses, Equity and sharebrokers Direct Broking, but has no plans to sell either.

King says there are significant differences between these businesses and Sterling. Equity and Direct operate on commissions from product sales and only give advice on products, while Sterling is a full-advice house and generates its income off the amount of funds it has under management.

He says the full-advice model is difficult in the current market conditions.

Sterling will be rebranded Spicers.

« Spicers and Sterling join forcesSovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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