Douglas Wenck, Ellwood Barry McPherson, Gannon Growden Schonell and Associates, Guest McLeod, Heraud Harrison, Kilkenny Rose and Associates and Shadforths have formalised their existing business partnerships through the launch of a company called Project East West Limited.
Known as the Best Advice project, the group is looking at a national restructure of their back office and middle office systems, processes, technology services and suppliers with the aim of consolidating resources and reducing duplication and inefficiencies.
The practices are also tendering for wholesale investment services.
In 2002, the group, which then included The Money Managers, forged an arrangement to badge the BT wrap which saw a reduction in fund manager fees. Their contracts with Macquarie wrap and BT wrap end in 2008.
Together the seven firms manage $7.5 billion in client funds under advice and cater towards high income and high net worth individuals. They employ 90 advisers and around 260 total staff.
"The Brisbane firms have been working together in a format called Planners Alliance for some time and we are really extending the success of that concept with this wider, national project," Kilkenny Rose chief executive Jim Kilkenny said.
The project's chief executive is former Tynan MacKenzie boss Tony Fenning, who retired recently from the boutique advice firm after it was bought by AXA Asia Pacific.
Fenning said lowering client fees is part of the project's aim.
"We've got a large amount of volume so we expect wholesale rates," he said.
The group is also investigating a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange, Fenning said.
It is understood that boutique financial planners Arnheim Gillard will soon join the project. Last month the firm dumped long-standing dealer group Godfrey Pembroke, a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank, in favour of the Tasmanian-based independent dealer Shadforths.
Several other firms are in discussions about joining the project.
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