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Equity Financial Trust (EFT) has a showdown coming on March 28, 2014. That’s when it meets with shareholders to determine the company’s ongoing leadership.

That meeting is being demanded by a small number of dissident shareholders led by Smoothwater Capital. Smoothwater is trying to oust 7 directors, add its own directors, and reinstall Nick Kyprianou and Darryl Ivan as officers (both were fired last fall).

Despite this sideshow, EFT is not taking its eye off the ball when it comes to building its business.

“We are currently enjoying portfolio growth exactly as we forecast and expect that to continue,” says EFT’s President Michael Jones.

He says EFT’s lending operations are running as efficiently as ever. The company is issuing approvals within 24 hours on average (4 hours for “Elite” brokers) and responding to broker inquiries in 4 hours or less.

EFT’s Q4 originations were $50 million, up 20% year over year. Jones adds, “We are expanding our network of brokers, meeting with and presenting to on average 15-20 new brokers/agents per week.”

“Thus far this month our closings (fundings) have been exactly as we expected them to be, as part of an annual plan to fund in aggregate in the low to mid hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Smoothwater wants to replace Jones and put Kyprianou back at the helm. But EFT states that, “Mr. Kyprianou was fired because the Board lost confidence in his ability to effectively lead the alternative mortgage business. This was a unanimous decision of the Board. Contributing factors included the Board’s conclusion that Mr. Kyprianou’s leadership created a negative work environment which was adversely affecting the business.”

We hoped to get Smoothwater's side of the story, particularly on EFT's claims about Kyprianou. Smoothwater said it could not comment.


Rob McLister, CMT

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