E-con­veyanc­ing drama, a big in­vestor for McGrath and two new CEOs

Elite Agent - - READER PROFILE -

While there was noth­ing much hap­pen­ing from the RBA with re­spect to in­ter­est rates, there has been lots go­ing on in other ar­eas of the prop­erty world in the last few weeks.

PEXA was a com­pany name on ev­ery­one's lips, but un­for­tu­nately it wasn't good news. A client lost $250,000 from a trans­ac­tion us­ing the plat­form when their con­veyancer ac­ci­den­tally trans­ferred funds into a hacker's bank ac­count. This oc­curred be­cause the hacker was able to get into the con­veyancer's emails and re­set the PEXA ac­count in­for­ma­tion. All's well that ends well, though – the client was able to fi­nalise the trans­ac­tion and PEXA are beef­ing up se­cu­rity pro­to­cols.

Also trend­ing on­line was the news of a big in­vest­ment in McGrath Limited (MEA). Chi­nese-based de­vel­oper Aqua­land be­came the se­cond big­gest share­holder in the com­pany through a pur­chase of a 15 per cent stake over two trans­ac­tions. The in­vest­ment was to the tune of around $20 mil­lion, and part of the agree­ment al­lows McGrath agents to get first dibs on ap­point­ments for Aqua­land de­vel­op­ment list­ings. Since then Aqua­land has been adding more Aus­tralians to their board and mak­ing their plans for de­vel­op­ment dom­i­na­tion here pretty clear. John McGrath re­mains the big­gest share­holder in the com­pany.


There have also been a bunch of new lead­er­ship an­nounce­ments and plenty of peo­ple moves. VIEW has a new CEO - they ap­pointed Toby Balazs, an ex- REA staffer who's look­ing to boost their reach. Word on the street is VIEW, Aus­tralia's third largest por­tal, are try­ing to im­prove their im­age. They're not a reg­u­lar prop­erty por­tal, they're a cool prop­erty por­tal - or at least they will be. Watch this space.

The news that stopped the Elite Agent news­room and had us all fran­ti­cally logging in on our morn­ing com­mute was a new CEO for Do­main. Since the big Cata­lano de­par­ture in Jan­uary, Do­main has been un­der the man­age­ment of Chair­man Nick Fal­loon (who re­ceived $4300 per day for the hon­our…) as the search spread in­ter­na­tion­ally. The new man in the job is Ja­son Pel­le­grino, whose most re­cent role was Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor ANZ of Google. He joined the search en­gine gi­ant in 2008 and had been climb­ing up ever since, work­ing across the sales, op­er­a­tions and strat­egy di­vi­sions. He'll be join­ing the team in Au­gust - no word on what his fo­cus will be yet, but with that pedi­gree, we can hazard a guess…


Lastly, all the state bud­gets were handed down which brought very lit­tle change.

WA had an in­crease to for­eign in­vest­ment sur­charges, and the ACT abol­ished stamp duty for first-home buy­ers - but ev­ery­thing else was much of a much­ness. The fig­ures on stamp duty earn­ings came in higher in most states than fore­casted, which just added another string to the bow of those calling for the con­tro­ver­sial tax to be re­moved to aid prop­erty af­ford­abil­ity.

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