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CWS advisers to join new licensee

A non-aligned licensee looks set to acquire the former authorised representatives and client books of collapsed dealer group Custom Wealth Solutions, after striking a deal with the appointed receivers.

John Morgan of BRC Advisory – one of the two receivers appointed to Custom Wealth Solutions – has confirmed to ifa that Queensland-based licensee SMSF Partners has been appointed by the receiver “to help manage the situation” and provide a licence to CWS’s former advisers.

“We have an obligation to maximise the value of the business and sell the book,” Mr Morgan said. “We have appointed [SMSF Partners CEO] David Mardell to help us manage the asset.

“The authorised representatives have been looked after by us putting SMSF Partners between the authorised reps and us,” Mr Morgan said. “That protects the authorised reps so they can keep trading and secondly it preserves the value of the asset, so we are just exercising our duty of care.”

Mr Morgan said SMSF Partners was put forward as a suitable destination for the authorised reps because “you need to choose a central point and the secured creditors were happy with SMSF Partners”.

However, a source close to Custom Wealth – speaking to ifa on condition of anonymity – alleged that “ASIC and [CWS director Chris Appleyard] have raised concerns about the suitability of the SMSF Partners business because it is a very different kind of business to what [CWS] was”.


In addition, one of the CWS authorised representatives – speaking on the same condition – told ifa he received a phone call from the receiver “telling us they will not grant a release, which effectively means we are compelled to join SMSF Partners”.

“I’ve still got a lot of questions but at this stage I have basically been told I have no choice,” the adviser said.

The source close to CWS said that “the corporate authorised representative agreements that CWS had in place allowed the immediate release only requiring 20 days' notice”, describing the deal struck between the receiver and SMSF Partners as “unfair and unjust”.

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