As Equity Trustees Ltd marks the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the company, it remains committed to expanding its services and bringing them to a wider client base, says Mr Robin Burns, managing director. He says that the services provided by Equity Trustees are even more relevant today than they were when the company was established in the 19th century.
The necessary legislation to empower Equity Trustees, then known as The Equity Trustees, Executors and Agency Company Limited, to provide executor trustee services was passed on December 10, 1888 by the Victorian Government.
Mr Burns explains that special legislation was needed whenever a trustee company was formed, as previously only individuals could act as agents on behalf of others.
“As people prospered in the colonies of Australia, many looked to make extended visits to Europe and needed trusted agents to look after their affairs while they were away.
“The colonies were rife with stories of people being defrauded by those they had employed to look after their affairs while they were absent.
“The ability of trustee companies to bring together the various skills needed to maintain and grow a personal estate, appeals today as much as it did then.
“A critical component in those days was trust, just as it is now, and it is something that is embedded in the culture of trustee companies such as Equity Trustees.”
Mr Burns says that he believes the services of today’s Trustee companies have a new relevance in meeting the needs of Australians in the 21st century.
Today, Equity Trustee’s services take in wealth management, superannuation, managed funds, responsible entity and institutional custody and administration services, as well as estate planning and aged care services and philanthropy.
“The complexities of financial management today, coupled with the need for continuation of service, mean people want a financial institution they can trust,” he says.
“For individuals, continuation of service is an issue of ever increasing importance as Australians seek support and advice throughout their various phases of retirement, as well as during their wealth accumulation years.
“With Australians today having a life expectancy that their great grandparents would find staggering, the need intensifies for trusted entities offering continuation in a range of broadly based financial and personal services.
“Investors are finding that they can’t be reliant on the skills and honesty of one person, but need access to a broad range of specialist skills and knowledge.
“While many advisers are acknowledging this with the formation of alliances and partnerships to give their clients access to additional areas of expertise, we have expanded and refined our services to satisfy the changing needs of our own clients.
“EQT remains committed to continuing to grow our operations and to bring our services to a wider base, including through the formation of business alliances.”
Increasingly, today’s Australians are more likely to find that, one day, they will be unable to cope with lifestyle and financial issues because of frailty,” Mr Burns says.
“Retirees in particular need access to support services that range through matters like managing personal finance and estate affairs, negotiating the myriad of regulations that can enhance or damage wealth, setting up appropriate investment vehicles, finding suitable aged accommodation, and operating an enduring Power of Attorney,” he says.
In light of the many corporate collapses over the years, the role of Equity Trustees’ corporate fiduciary team is equally as apparent.
“In a complex financial world, the services offered by Equity Trustees for institutional clients in the areas of trustee services, responsible entity services and custody and asset administration are of increasing importance,” Mr Burns says.
“In the 125 years since Equity Trustees first began providing trustee services to Australians, society, our country and the world have all changed in many ways. Markets have risen and fallen and risen again through depression, crashes and a GFC; on the sheep’s back; technology bubbles and resources booms.
“The range of services we provide, the types of client we provide these to, and the economic and business landscape we do this in, have all also changed significantly.
“The services offered by Equity Trustees are arguably even more necessary now as our main characteristics of offering continuity and trust are becoming increasingly in demand in today’s more complex society,” Mr Burns concludes.
Equity Trustees Limited (EQT) is a publicly listed company that provides a range of financial services to corporate and private clients. Its businesses include asset management, distribution, responsible entity appointments, private client wealth management, and corporate and personal superannuation.
For more information please contact:
Robin Burns – Phone: 03 8623 5201
10 December 2013