Opis Capital, the unfortunately named fund manager run by Melbourne blue-blood scion Sam Baillieu and friend Dean Fergie, is scrambling hard to dissociate itself from the Opes Prime disaster.
The two companies have absolutely nothing to do with each other, but sadly human error may get in the way. A disclaimer has recently appeared on the Opis Capital website:
Given recent announcements and events in relation to Opes Prime Group, OPIS Capital Limited confirms that it is an independent legal entity with no common directors nor beneficial ownership between the entities.
Fergie says the mix-up hasn’t been ideal for the boutique fund manager which, with establishment figures Charles Baillieu and Sidney Myer on the board, couldn’t be further away from the colourful racing identities associated with Opes Prime’s Lirim “Laurie” Emini.
“We’ve had a lot of clients ring up really worried that we’re in administration, but then they say it’s like thinking you’ve got cancer and then finding out that you haven’t. People tend to be very relieved.”
Fergie says there are no plans yet to change the Opis Capital name: “Obviously that’s the first reactive thought, to change the name, but unlike other businesses that have changed their name because of internal problems, I don’t think you should change your own business’s name because someone else has got problems.”
Other businesses like the fund manager formerly known as MFS perhaps. The company, now named Octaviar, was one of Fergie and Baillieu’s top two stock picks in Eli Greenblat’s recent book Young Guns along with another troubled Gold Coast institution, ABC Learning Centres.
Commenting on MFS, Fergie says the choice was “pretty embarrassing”.
“At that point in time, from everything we were aware of and all the publicly-available information, it appeared to be travelling pretty well. We were entirely unaware of the extent of the underlying gearing. We think we were probably misled, as were a lot of investors.”
When MFS’s issues came to light, Opis liquidated its position, no doubt keeping in line with its stated mantra: “the vision to see opportunity, and the freedom to swoop.”