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Planning gives Epic the edge

A NEW boutique financial services company has achieved early success in carving out a niche in the Western Australian market.

Epic Asset Management managing director David New-man said the company brought together a combination of services he believed was unmatched by any other firm in Perth.

The founders of Epic spent six months planning the new business before opening their doors earlier this year.

Mr Newman, formerly State manager of AMP Financial Servi-ces, said the detailed planning had paid off, with a very positive initial market response.

Epic has already recruited 26 staff to support its four core services.

Its corporate solutions area advises companies on their employee benefits programs, particularly superannuation.

“A lot of companies have viewed superannuation as a regulatory requirement and a cost to the business,” Mr Newman said.

“Now they are starting to see it as a way of attracting good staff.”

He believes Epic has filled a gap in the market between financial planners and accountants who do not have the scale to service large companies, and large institutions that also are product manufacturers, and therefore are not genuinely independent.

Epic takes a very broad view of the services it can offer corporate clients. As well as superannuation and salary packaging, it provides advice on areas such as health and lifestyle management, business coaching and presentation skills.

A second string to Epic’s bow is the administration of self-managed super funds. This service is targeted at individuals as well as accountants wanting to outsource the administration and compliance of clients’ super funds.

Epic recently purchased an $80 million ‘book’ of self-managed super to provide instant scale and resources in this area.

It plans to add a trustee service in future, for members of self-managed super funds who want to appoint an external trustee.

Manoj Pillai, former managing director of Quest Investment Services, is the head of Epic Prestige, the group’s in-house financial planning service.

Mr Pillai also heads the dealer services operation, which currently licenses 29 ‘proper authority holders’ operating externally.

He said Epic’s attraction to financial advisers was its independence as well as the broad range of services it could provide.

For instance, external advisers could partner with Epic’s corporate solutions team. It also intends to support advisers in areas such as business develop-ment, strategic positioning and business coaching.

Mr Newman said Epic’s four core business areas created a powerful distribution platform and he would use this as the basis for negotiating strategic alliances with groups including fund managers and finance houses.

The objective was to gain access to premium product offerings that were not available to most investors or financial advisers.

The major shareholder in Epic is the stockbroking firm Montagu Pty Ltd, and Mr Newman said the plan was to dilute its stake.

Epic has raised $950,000 of seed capital and plans a further capital raising in three to four months to support further acquisitions.

An Initial Public Offering or compliance listing on the Australian Stock Exchange were two of the options that Epic was assessing in the longer term.

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