Australian Unity buys Altius, sells down Wingate

As part of an expansion of its wealth business, Australian Unity will purchase the remainder of fixed interest manager Altius Asset Management.

In a statement to Financial Standard, Australian Unity Wealth chief executive David Bryant said it is part of a strategy to broaden the firm's existing asset management capabilities in property, social infrastructure, debt, fixed interest and cash.

"The significant growth in Australian Unity's wealth activities over the past decade, which now include life, banking, a substantial direct property business, and our expanding investment activities - internal as well as through our joint venture businesses - means it is timely to optimally position ourselves for the future growth of both Australian Unity and its joint venture partnerships," Bryant said.

Altius will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australian Unity with chief investment officer Bill Bovingdon at its helm, assisted by Chris Dickman, Gavin Goodhand and Vanessa Thomson. Australian Unity Wealth's cash and fixed interest capabilities will be merged under the Altius team, expanding the reach of the Altius offering via Australian Unity's clientele.

Bryant confirmed that Altius will retain all investment autonomy, with no changes to be made to investment processes, the independent investment committee and name, or the Altius team.

Further, Australian Unity has also amplified its property team, introducing an internal investment capability in listed A-REITs to offer an additional investment option in listed real estate.

In the statement Bryant also confirmed that Australian Unity is ceasing as a direct shareholder in Wingate Asset Management. Wingate AM will now be jointly-owned by staff and the Wingate Group, with Australian Unity maintaining an indirect interest via shares in the parent company. Bryant said all existing products and services will continue, and he and Australian Unity Wealth chief operating officer Tim Barber will remain as members of the Wingate board.

"These changes position Australian Unity Wealth and its business partners for future growth, supporting our emphasis on generating optimal investment outcomes while continuing to delivering high levels of service for our clients," Bryant concluded.

Read more: Australian Unity WealthAltius Asset ManagementBill BovingdonChris DickmanDavid BryantFinancial StandardGavin GoodhandTim BarberVanessa ThomsonWingate AMWingate Asset ManagementWingate Group
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