Morgan Stanley Wealth Management wants a seat at the table in any rationalisation of Australia’s private wealth industry.
Street Talk understands the firm is keeping close watch on the situation at National Australia Bank’s broking and advice arm JBWere, and is seeking out early engagement on a potential acquisition.
While a formal sale is yet to kick off, sources said interested parties were staying alert to the prospect.
This column in February revealed that JBWere was part of a broader wealth management review taking place at Melbourne-based NAB. That is despite JBWere not sitting within the wealth and consumer reporting division.
Among the options being considered for JBWere were a full or partial management buyout.
In February, Koda Capital lured JBWere executive director Frank Macindoe and investment adviser James Hawthorne to its Sydney office, while Brendan Jones, a former director at the retail broker, joined Koda’s Melbourne team.
NAB snapped up 80.1 per cent of JBWere in 2009 for just shy of $100 million, and two years ago exercised an option to acquire the remaining 19.9 per cent share in JBWere from Goldman Sachs.
On the other hand, Morgan Stanley has made a bigger push into wealth in the past five years after taking out Citigroup’s stake in Smith Barney.
In Australia, Morgan Stanley Wealth is now seeking more scale to mirror that of its global operations, which have 16500 advisers, $US2 trillion in assets under management and reported revenue of $US17 billion.
Elsewhere, Wilson Asset Management is said to have informed investors that it plans to raise $550 million for its new listed global fund.
A letter seen by this column said the initial public offering would be “strictly limited” to that amount and a prospectus would be lodged later this month.
The lead managers on the WAM global fund offering are understood to be National Australia Bank, Taylor Collison, Morgans and Ord Minnett. The co lead managers are Bell Potter, Shaw and Partners, Perth-based Pattersons and Baillieu Holst.
Interestingly, long/short equities investor L1 Capital has also more than doubled the size of its maiden listed investment company to as much as $1.35 billion.
L1 Capital was founded by former Cooper Investors stockpicker Rafi Lamm and ex-Invesco Australia investment manager Mark Landau in 2007 and is owned by its senior staff.