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Gould closes deal on Vestar's better half

Christchurch-based investment firm Gould Holdings finalised its purchase of the brand-damaged advisory firm Vestar from the ASX-listed Octavier on July 21, securing the agreement of over 1,600 clients representing above $400 million in funds under management.

Wednesday, July 30th 2008, 5:15AM

by David Chaplin

While the deal was completed for an undisclosed sum the Octavier balance sheet as at May 31 this year indicated Vestar was valued below A$10 million. The Octavier accounts show its assets other than cash and the 35% shareholding in the Stella travel group amounted to a net A$62.795 million, of which over A$51 million was accounted for by assets other than Vestar.

Last year MFS, which later morphed into Octavier, valued the Vestar group at about A$86 million.

Gould has been pursuing Vestar since March in a deal where clients would sign up to a new contract managed by Gould Wealth Management.

In a message on the Vestar website, Gould said: "It is fair to say that the trust and confidence that clients have shown in GWM has been the deciding factor in the decision to complete the sale and purchase.

"The client meetings we have held, the correspondence we have received and the phone calls we have had, have given us a clear understanding of the core issues facing financial planning in New Zealand and more importantly allowed us to gauge what investors want from their investment adviser," the message said.

In the new Vestar disclosure statement the group names 18 advisers operating under the new management, including: former head of Northplan (the group originally sold to MFS in 2006), Kelvin Syms; Simon Purvis, ex-Vestar managing director, and; Colin Strang, who sold his Christchurch-based advisory business to MFS separate of Northplan.

The Vestar information memorandum produced by MFS/Octavier claimed an adviser force of 28 and $850 million in funds under management.

The document also indicated Vestar generated average fees of 1% of funds. If Gould picked up the clients for about $10 million that would amount to less than two and a half times annual recurring revenue.

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