SINCE its acquisition, Perth-based Sealcorp has been considered the jewel in the crown of parent company St George Bank.
However, despite the highly competitive nature of the financial services sector and the increasing pressures from eastern States-based rivals, the locally-founded master trust administrator has managed to maintain a distinctly Western Australian flavour with the bulk of its operations remaining in Perth.
Established out of a small Perth-based financial planning practice in 1985, Sealcorp was acquired by St George Bank in December 1997 for $272 million. Now St George’s flagship master trust business, Sealcorp Holdings has contributed to significant jumps in Funds Under Administration and fee revenues for the St George group.
Sealcorp runs Asgard – one of the largest investment platforms in Australia – along with research group Assirt and dealer group Securitor.
The company is now set to launch a new product offering, ASGARD Elements.
Sealcorp director operations and information technology Jan Kolbusz, who has been with the company since before it was acquired by St George, said he had witnessed the growth of Sealcorp and the disappearance of other competitors from the financial services industry.
Another home-grown master trust was Flexiplan, which was established in Perth in the early 1990s as a competitor to Asgard, but was subsequently absorbed by MLC and its operations transferred interstate.
At the time some industry figures suspected Sealcorp would be resigned to a similar fate. However, the company has not only prospered despite tough competition but also maintained a relatively autonomous operation.
Out of its 680 staff Australia-wide, 530 are housed in five floors at Central Park in the areas of information technology, marketing, human resources, customer service and business planning and performance.
Sealcorp now boasts 210,000 investors and administers funds to 25 per cent of all Australia’s financial advisers. The company also has 4,200 active advisers.
While the head office is now located in Sydney, the registered office remains in Perth.
“The key decisions are made here,” Mr Kolbusz said.
Sealcorp has won in both 2003 and 2002 in the AC Nielsen 2003 Online Benchmark for its adviserNET service and was rated number one in the Assirt 2003 Advisers Service Level Survey and ranked top three on other occasions.
“I’d like to think its matched expectations,” Mr Kolbusz said.
“Since the acquisition Asgard has grown from just over $4 billion funds under administration to nearly $16 billion FUA and consequently has continued to deliver a consistently solid return to St George Bank.”
Mr Kolbusz said the company was also proud of its reputation as an employer of choice.
“I think we provide an opportunity,” he said.
The company actively nurtures a people-oriented working environment – evidenced through in-house coffee rooms on the centre of each floor where employees are encouraged to meet.
“We are lucky that we are not so big that it’s unwieldy, and not so small that there are no opportunities,” Mr Kolbusz said.
“The key decisions are made here.”
- Jan Kolbusz
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