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MFS looking at buying Northplan

Good Returns understands that MFS Pacific is in negotiations to acquire the Northplan financial advisory group.

Friday, November 3rd 2006, 6:12AM

by Philip Macalister

Northplan managing director Kelvin Syms had a firm no comment when asked about the issue. Likewise MFS Pacific are tight-lipped on the deal.

Newly appointed New Zealand chief executive Jason Maywald said "no comment" when asked about the deal. "It's not appropriate as an ASX listed company to make a comment," he says.

MFS, as first reported by Good Returns earlier this year, signalled that it wants to expand its business in New Zealand from one of being a finance company to one which also offers managed funds and advisory services.

At the time Nigel Lane said MFS were excited by the opportunities coming up in New Zealand due to the changing regulatory environment.

Since that report MFS has been building up its business from being essentially a branch office of its Gold Coast head office, to a fully fledged operation.

A new chief executive has been appointed and it has also engaged Julian Travaglia as head of distribution.

Travaglia helped Southern Cross establish its Activa product and prior to that was in a senior role at AMP.

One of the interesting twists in this, yet-to-be-consumated deal is that St Laurence Private Equity took a stake and a board seat in Northplan at the start of this year.

St Laurence itself is a finance company which competes with MFS Pacific.

There has also been talk around the industry that AXA was planning to buy into New Zealand Financial Planning. NZFP are one of the more established advisory groups and already use AXA-owned Assure to run its master trust and wrap account operations.

NZFP principal Jordi Garcia has quashed the rumour saying that nothing is happening in this area.

He says it would be very hard for any organisation to buy the group as it is essentially set up on a co-operative basis and all the owners would have to agree to a sale.

« Bill to make funds invest ethicallySovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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