BT Wrap bites back at fund manager’s accusations

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BT Wrap has countered accusations made by a fund manager about the transparency and security of the platform.

Last week Kieran Kelly of Sirius Funds Management released a press release that outlined his frustrations and quest for answers about the BT Wrap.

He told Wealth Professional that he’d been battling with the portfolio administration for six months to get answers to what he said were basic questions.

These included getting hold of audited client statements, confirmation of balances and an assurance that client holdings aren’t loaned out for short selling.

Kelly claimed the wrap had either refused or been unable to provide answers.

“In a nutshell there are so many questions I’ve asked and they haven’t been answered, and they are standard commercial questions that should have been answered overnight,” he said at the time. “This is 1970s stuff where someone is trying to find out information and all they get is a big load of nothing.”

Even more concerning to Kelly about the Westpac-owned BT Wrap was that he said he was told by an employee that it sub-contracts share transactions to Commonwealth Bank subsidiary Core Equity services.

He wanted to know specific information about security of such an arrangement, and he wanted BT Wrap to advertise this third-party arrangement.

However, in a statement provided to Wealth Professional, BT Wrap said this was not correct.

“The service provider is actually Australian Investment Exchange (AUSIEX), a wholly owned subsidiary of CommSec,” it said. “This is a strategic outsource partnership that has been in place for many years. This arrangement is transparent - BT is a settlement participant of the ASX in its own right and Chess sponsor for all direct equities held through BT Wrap.”

Separately, the administration of the BT Chess sponsorship is outsourced to AUSIEX, however the legal ownership of the assets remains with BT Portfolio Services and AUSIEX holds no title over this stock.

Online trades executed through the platform are executed by AUSIEX (which is a Market Participant of the ASX) as the default nominated broker.  As a market participant, AUSIEX is covered by the National Guarantee Fund, the statement said, adding that commercial contracts are confidential documents.

It also denied it hasn’t addressed any of Kelly’s questions or concerns over the past six months.

“BT Wrap welcomes communication with its clients and as such Mr Kelly’s queries have not gone unanswered. We have been in touch with him on a regular basis since October via email and phone.”

Up-to-date client level reporting is available to Kelly and his clients via an online portal, and BT Wrap provides annual tax and all legislatively required statements to clients, it said.

At the time of Kelly’s request for the annual GS007 report, it had yet to be approved by the board of directors; however it can now be provided and Kelly has been informed of this, said the statement.

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