(Pictured: Jason Clarke)
Jason Clarke, the former managing director of the Lonsec Fiscal group and partner of Jeff Bresnahan in the development and expansion of the SuperRatings business, has joined administration company Recreo Financial Technologies as a director. He is known as a long-time critic of the service offerings of the big administration firms and system providers.
Clarke, who remains a shareholder in Lonsec Fiscal, joins Recreo founders Matt Crooks, who previously headed up technology at Oasis Funds Management, and David Johnson, co-founder of Oasis who also co wrote the well-known admin software, Composer.
To date, Recreo, which has a 20-person office in Wollongong, including a call centre, and currently 16 people in Sydney, has concentrated on the SMSF market. But in recent months the firm has looked to expand into the larger super fund market, potentially taking on AAS, SuperPartners, Mercer and Pillar.
Recreo has already recruited an experienced super fund executive, Colin McGuinness, the former business strategist at AUSCOAL Super, as head of institutional business development.
“We expect to be able to announce our entry into the big super fund space soon, with several funds in the pipeline,” Clarke said. “I was scathing of the super admin systems when I was at SuperRatings for 12 years. Their product delivery has been poor and restricted their clients from moving forward. We [Recreo] established our system after the internet and after the cloud. Working with new technology enables a much more efficient, flexible framework. We have real-time reporting, tax accounting, compliance and fees and can work across all trust structures: DB, DC, SMSFs and non-super.”
Clarke worked with Bresnahan in the 1990s at a super admin and advisory company called The Australian Superannuation Group. This operated as a type of confederation which was sold in 2000. Bresnahan was a large shareholder in the NSW business and went on extended gardening leave before founding SuperRatings in 2002. He was then joined by Clarke the following year.
Lonsec entered the member-directed investment option field last year announcing the $5 billion Melbourne Catholic Super Fund as its first client. Recreo provides the technology and admin services for the Lonsec offering.
Some Australian investment and super admin systems developers have done very well for themselves over the years, with international expansions, IPOs and trade sales for big prices. But some others have not. It appears to be a risky business because of the high and variable costs associated with systems development – at least prior to the internet and cloud computing. A systems cost blowout was the main reason behind the five super funds which own SuperPartners deciding to sell that business to the Link Group-owned AAS last year. The two companies are in the process of being merged this year to become by-far the biggest player in the market.
Clarke said that Recreo was currently well capitalised with private funding and was not looking to raise money, notwithstanding a mini-boom which is happening in fintech venture capital.
– Greg Bright