Corporate trustee and fund administration platform, MSC Group, has acquired Certane Corporate Trust, formerly trading as AET Corporate Trust and part of Australian Executor Trustees, adding retail custody to its services.

The acquisition, which officially settled on Friday 12 January 2024, will create one of the largest full service corporate trust businesses in Australia, with a combined AUD $30 billion under appointment. In addition to retail custody, Certane brings expanded debt capital markets expertise and client books in the areas of security trusteeship, facility and escrow agency services. Certane also manages a large book of employee share plans. The combined business will present a major alternative to long standing incumbents in the trustee market, with services to appeal to both domestic and international fund and capital managers and providing a powerful one-stop-shop for complementary corporate trust, custody, security trustee &
agency, registry & fund administration services.

MSC Group Managing Director, Mr Matthew Fletcher, said “The highly complementary merging of Certane CT into MSC Group represents the final step in creating a full-service corporate trust offering. We know both local and international clients are highly attracted to the combined offering of corporate trust, fund registry, administration, and custody services.

“The Certane and formerly AET Corporate Trust business has a long-established history of servicing the local Australia fund and corporate debt market and has managed to grow its book in recent times despite a number of ownership changes. This acquisition brings an incredibly loyal and capable custody team into our business, plus a genuine footprint in both Melbourne and Sydney. We believe the business will benefit immensely with more stable, aligned ownership and strategic direction in a market with
limited competition.

“Competition in the Australian custody space has been retreating following the exit of the Australian banks to return to core business. Global depository/custodial businesses such as HSBC, JP Morgan and Citi Group have also retreated, preferring larger funds in excess of AUD $5 billion or sometimes as much as $20 billion. The non-global, stand-alone, local custodial market now comprises only two players: Certane and Sandhurst Trustees (owned by regional Bendigo Adelaide Bank). “Accordingly, this acquisition represents a substantial opportunity for our business to take market share for custody services on both a stand-alone basis and also as a leverage point for our core and higher margin corporate
trust business.

“I want to thank Darran Goodger and Certane Group stakeholders for facilitating what is a fantastic opportunity for our business. I’d also like to express appreciation for a number of consultancy firms who worked tirelessly to assist us in completing this deal over Christmas / New Years including our legal counsel Minter Elison, our funding partner Epsilon and corporate advisor Prime Capital.”

Certane Group CEO, Mr Darran Goodger, said “From the offset when speaking with Matt, it was clear that bringing together these two companies made for an exciting prospect for all stakeholders.  The combined businesses, with their collective industry experience and technology, are extremely well positioned to support existing and new clients.

“There has been a tremendous amount of hard work undertaken by all parties including Certane Group and our advisors, Ankura and Allen & Overy, to both complete and deliver a seamless transaction over the festive period.”

Certane CT General Manager, Ms Yvonne Kelaher, said: “We look forward to working with MSC, who brings long-term ownership stability and a solid growth strategy. We consider this an extremely complementary outcome for both our clients and staff, who will respectively benefit from a wider service
offering and career opportunities.”

About MSC Group
Established in 2012 as Melbourne Securities Corporation, MSC Group’s core business, MSC Trustees, originally focused on emerging & wholesale mid-market funds. The company has experienced a progressive expansion as a corporate trustee into notes, bonds & debentures, retail / registered funds and responsible entity roles and more recently into institutional & global clients. In 2019, the group launched its fund administration business, MSC Abacus, expanding into investor registry, fund administration and fund accounting services.

In May last year, the business was granted a Capital Markets Services Licence by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and currently trades from offices in Melbourne, Sydney & Singapore.

Lead Consultant Summary

MSC Legal:

Minter Ellison (Corporate): Matthew Hibbins, Michelle Chan, Ben Liu
Minter Ellison (Banking & Finance): Alice Rubira, Eilidh Murray

MSC Corporate Advice:

Prime Capital: Tim Bennett

Certane Legal:

Allen & Overy: Simone Lowes, Nick Koutsoukos

Certane Corporate:

Advice Ankura: Preeti Inchody, Surya Alapati

Further Information:
Ms Claudia Pritchitt
+61 438 221 550
[email protected]