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Camelot searches for advice holy grail

As flagged in Good Returns and ASSET magazine earlier this year Grosvenor will launch a new financial advisory group in August under the Camelot brand.

Thursday, July 17th 2008, 5:41AM

by David Chaplin

In a statement released yesterday, Grosvenor confirmed an August 15 official kick-off date for Camelot, which will initially be comprised of 12 advisory businesses representing almost 50 individual financial planners.

Already as a group, with funds under management in excess of $1 billion dollars and insurance covering more than 50,000 clients, [Camelot] is on the way to becoming the largest financial advisory group in the industry, the Grosvenor statement said.

Through its ASX-listed subsidiary Tranzact Financial Services, Grosvenor has bought minority ownership in the dozen firms which will make up the Camelot group. As well as buying chunks of several Rutherford Rede firms, over the last year or so Tranzact has purchased slices of Wellington practice Van Der Wilt Financial; the Invercargill-based Skerrett Financial Planning, and; another Wellington business Prime Planning Partnership.

According to Grosvenor, the advisers in the Camelot group have had relatively little exposure to the raft of failed investment products in New Zealand.

In the current financial climate, clients and potential clients have become increasingly cautious, suspicious and lacking in confidence when it comes to financial advice, Grosvenor said yesterday.

In today's investment climate the good guys need to stand up and be seen. The public needs to be aware that there are options of companies that will do the right thing by them, are around for the long haul, and offer integrity to their investment advice.

In a statement to the ASX in June this year, Tranzact also said a formal merger with Grosvenor was on the cards before June next year.

According to the announcement, both Tranzact and Grosvenor agreed there were sound strategic reasons for a merger.

However, both Tranzact and Grosvenor presently have important growth initiatives underway which are expected to deliver benefits to shareholders over the next 12 to 18 months, the Tranzact statement said.

The Camelot initiative comes on the back of a significant reshuffle in New Zealand's financial planning groups. As well as the transfer of a majority of clients from the failed MFS-owned group Vestar to Gould Wealth Management (due to be finalised this week) other firms such as ING and AXA have also revealed plans to create new financial advisory businesses.

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