After a tumultuous few years, including the departure of its namesake, Stephen van Eyk, followed by cost cutting and rebuilding by the long-time largest shareholder and chief executive, Mark Thomas, together with a new cornerstone shareholder, Pyne Gould Corporation *, Van Eyk Research has been merged with Perpetual in New Zealand and sold to an entity controlled by Andrew Barnes.
Van Eyk, still arguably the best brand in the advice business for financial planners in Australia, will now more clearly split its funds management arm from its research and advice arm. Thomas will continue to run the traditional Australian business, while Barnes, who came to fame as the chief executive of the formerly listed Australian Wealth Management, which was taken over by IOOF in 2009, will run the funds management arm in both New Zealand and Australia.
Barnes, who has been living in England for the past several years, has acquired 20 per cent of a listed investment fund, Merrick Special Opportunities Fund, which was formerly managed by the privately owned Merricks Capital. The fund had fallen on hard times under its previous management, with the share price languishing at less than half its underlying book value at the time of the deal last month. Merricks quit its management contract of the fund last month.
Pyne Gould, the New Zealand-listed company controlled by George Kerr, which had held a 38 per cent interest in van Eykafter Stephen’s vanEyk’s departure, and 100 per cent of Perpetual in New Zealand, has decided to concentrate its investment activities in Australia and Europe, which was disclosed to shareholders last year. Pyne Gould’s main operating company is the investment vehicle known as Torchlight.
Finalisation of the deal was announced last Friday.
*The author is a non-executive director of Pyne Gould.