Our firm was founded in 1983 as we felt there was a need for better investment advice. We have built a culture based upon professionalism and evidence, not speculation and sales. It's an approach borne out of a dissatisfaction with many traditional wealth management providers such as private banks, large financial services firms and trustee companies, who control approximately 80% of all advisers in Australia.
Though we know good people exist within those organisations, we (and many of our clients) have experienced first-hand their culture of selling and distributing financial and investment products under the guise of advice. We knew that a better and more robust approach was required.
When it comes to managing wealth, experience matters. Our founder and Chairman, Nigel Stewart, has been a mainstay of the Australian financial services sector for more than 35 years. Stewart Partners didn't just become one of the leading wealth management firms it is today by chance. Many lessons were learnt the hard way, however what remains is relentless commitment to put our clients first in every way, and continually improve.
1983Nigel Stewart & Associates
After 5 years at Bain & Company, Nigel spent a year travelling around the world. Driven by his adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit, Nigel returned to Australia and started Nigel Stewart & Associates
1986Move to fee for service
A long way ahead of its time, Nigel Stewart & Associates began advising their clients on a fee for service model back in 1986. While that might not seem like a special point to make by today's standards, it's worth remembering almost all 'advisers' in the 1980s worked on commissions. Australian law finally banned commissions in 2012 - a step we voluntarily took more than 25 years ago
1987Move to 20 Loftus Street office
As the business grew, it came time to seek out a bigger office. Unfortunately for Nigel this commitment was made all the more daunting as signing the lease fell on the same day as the 1987 stock market crash (known as Black Monday) - goes to show taking a long-term view can be hardest to do, when it matters the most
1994Joining with the best minds in finance
Always looking for ways to improve investment outcomes for clients, Nigel formed connections with the founders of global fund manager Dimensional Fund Advisors who were creating investment strategies with the best ideas from the academic finance community. Nigel was appointed a foundational director in Australia and began to grow its presence in our region
1995Merger - Potter Warburg (UBS Wealth Management)
By this stage, Nigel Stewart & Associates had experienced such growth that it took the attention of one of the biggest wealth management firms in Australia, merging with Potter Warburg (UBS Wealth Management). Nigel became its Executive Chairman & CEO
1998Formation of Stewart Partners
Nigel started Stewart Partners in order to continue to service clients with unbiased advice, at all times placing their interests first. In addition, the firm has always operated with its own Australian Financial Services Licence which has continued to this day
2003Global Association of Independent Advisors (GAIA)
In 2003, an alliance of nine Australasian advisory firms was formed, which later grew to become the Global Association of Independent Advisors (GAIA). All are like-minded firms from around the world and are committed to sharing best practice. GAIA firms are CEFEX accredited fiduciaries
2013Forming APW Partners
In 2013, Stewart Partners merged with Melbourne Private Wealth in Melbourne and was jointly known as APW Partners for 5 years. While both firms share much in common, many of the benefits of merging didn't materialise. In late 2017 the two firms decided to resume their independence, while continuing to collaborate
It has been an eventful and successful 35 years, although we are far more interested in the next 35 and beyond. We have built a legacy of providing wise counsel and advice to our clients and we look forward to continuing on this journey
Understanding Global Best Practice
We recognised some time ago that going beyond our shores to learn from the best in the world helps us create exceptional experiences for our clients, which is why we belong to an international network of independently-owned, investment advisory firms, whose overriding commitment to fiduciary excellence ensures they always put their clients' interests first.
The Global Association of Independent Advisors™ (GAIA) is a professional network of privately owned financial advisory firms serving affluent families who share best practices and learn from each other, so that we can better serve our clients in a fiduciary capacity. Our members are located in the USA, Australia, Europe, Canada, Chile and New Zealand.
GLOBAL Academic Finance Community
We have deep and longstanding relationships with the global academic finance community, including the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which counts six Nobel Prize laureates amongst its faculty members. These relationships help ensure our evidence-based Investment Philosophy continues to evolve and remain at the forefront of global thinking and best practice.