Powerlan snares Perpetual from DST

Powerlan snares Perpetual from DST

Tier-one funds manager Perpetual Trustees Australia has dumped DST International's HiPortfolio financials software in favour of Powerlan's flagship funds management software system, Portfolio Manager.

Powerlan says the deal is a major boost to its strategy of installing its intellectual property throughout the Asia-Pacific markets, and has opened the door for a number of additional accounts.

"The Portfolio Manager marketing push is in line with our business strategy of increasing the ownership and deployment of intellectual property," says Powerlan managing director Theo Baker.

A Powerlan insider says the company has been progressively moving away from systems integration in pursuit of the investment and finance markets, from which it derives licence fees and recurring income through transaction fees and maintenance charges.

Baker confirms this form of business has become a significant source of revenue for the local software developer.

However, DST put a damper on Powerlan's aspirations, saying that many competitors had tried and failed in the Australian investment sector over the last 10 years, and expected Powerlan to be no different.

"We welcome the competition," said DST International's managing director, Ian Mathieson. "We're so far ahead of the market that no-one challenges us and clients have no-one to compare us to. It prolongs the sales cycle."

Having had the market to itself for nine years, Mathieson boasts DST is miles ahead in terms of product functionality and focus.

"When it comes to asset management, we have the lion's share. [Powerlan] would have to commit to spending millions of dollars to destabilise our position," threatened Mathieson.

He added there are a number of intricacies involved in Australian capital gains tax and dividend investment that prove a major inhibitor for competitive brands.

Meanwhile, industry speculation suggests the sale of the Royal Bank of Canada's Perpetual Trustees' Funds Services (PFS) division in August became the catalyst for the conversion to Powerlan's Portfolio Manager.

According to sources in contact with ARN, the PFS division accounted for approximately 15 per cent of Perpetual's total revenue, and had an existing joint venture relationship with DTS that prevented Perpetual from considering alternate software platforms.

However, Powerlan says that being a local software company has been a big advantage in gaining ground on DST.

"The Perpetual deal marks Portfolio Manager as a significant industry product with a strong pipeline of prospective sales," claims Powerlan's banking and finance group manager, Thomas Ng. "It continues to solidify its position in the market . . . We are looking forward to further increasing market share, both here and overseas."

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