Fresh Blood for the FBAA

13th April 2021

Article courtesy of: by Jessica Owens

The Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA) has approved four new members into its fold this week, and they are Andrew Williams, James Clarke, William Johnson and Peter Twomey.

Each will join the 24-member FBAA as accredited bloodstock agents, and will be bound by the organisation’s Code of Ethics, which enforces respectable practice in the sale and purchase of bloodstock, along with other services including valuations, consultancy, management and mating advice.

Ethics and transparency for Williams

Sydney-based Kiwi ex-pat Andrew Williams has been at the helm of Andrew Williams Bloodstock since 2017. He is associated with the purchase of horses like Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}), Crosshaven (Smart Missile) and Bella Nipotina (Pride Of Dubai).

Williams said the reshaping of the FBAA in the last 12 months was the attraction in his application for membership.

“Given that it’s got new shape, that’s what caught my interest in joining,” he said. “The fact that there’s going to be a much more professional and collective approach to it with transparency is a good thing, and I don’t know if it will assist in generating new business at all, but it brings a bit more professionalism to my role.”

“The fact that there’s going to be a much more professional and collective approach to it with transparency is a good thing.” – Andrew Williams

Williams said he was comfortable trading in the capacity he was formerly in, but added that the FBAA was an added layer to the game.

“It’s a great initiative,” he said. “It highlights transparency and ethics to encourage business through bloodstock agents, and especially young agents that want to have longevity in the industry.”

Clarke held to account

James Clarke, of Clarke Bloodstock, has been an agent since September 2018, which came about after many years in senior management with Bjorn Baker Racing and Godolphin. At the recent Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, he was involved in the buying of a number of yearlings, amounting to $1.37 million in bloodstock.

In a short space of time, Clarke has moved and shook on racing’s top shelf, and said that the FBAA membership was an inevitable addition to the industry.

“It can only be a good thing in our profession to be part of an organisation that holds us to a code of conduct in the way we operate,” he said. “Fundamentally, I think the FBAA is a very important thing for the industry, and I’m very pleased to be a part of it.

“Changes to the structure of the organisation in the last six months by Craig Rounsefell are something that I’m really excited by, and I think it’s only going to continue to play a more prominent role in the industry going forward.”

Young face in Will Johnson

At 29-years-old, Will Johnson is the youngest addition to the FBAA, and the youngest accredited member. He said it was important that bloodstock agents were on the same page.

“Integrity should be at the forefront of the industry,” he said, “and working alongside people like Craig Rounsefell and Suman Hedge, who have made the changes necessary to capture more members into the FBAA, it’s a really good thing for people like me. Those guys are only making the FBAA stronger.

“Integrity should be at the forefront of the industry.” – Will Johnson

Johnson began operating as a bloodstock agent in late 2019. Before that, he spent time with Lindsay Park, and then Roger Varian and Luca Cumani in the UK. In 2017 he moved into bloodstock, slotting into the footsteps of Irish agent Hubie de Burgh.

“The likes of Dermot Farrington and James Harron have worked with Hubie and have both gone on to be leading agents,” Johnson said. “Being in my late 20s, I just thought I was at the right age to come back to Australia and establish myself under my own name. Recent changes to the FBAA have signalled a new chapter for the organisation, so I was happy to have joined.”

Protecting investors at Wattle

Wagga Wagga-based agent Peter Twomey established Wattle Bloodstock in 2017 after nine years with Inglis and, before that, previous experience in the hands of Vin Cox and Damon Gabbedy. He brings a seasoned presence to the FBAA, with up to 90 per cent of his business pointed at the Asian market.

“I’ve known about the FBAA for a number of years,” Twomey said. “I was very buoyed by the appointment of Boomer (Rounsefell), and what he and the others are instituting to boost the profile of the Federation and give it a bit more teeth.”

Twomey is a registered stock and station agent in NSW, but he said that having a professional bloodstock organisation with clout was something he was very interested in. He added that the injection of change into the FBAA was exciting.

“It’s not that the Federation wasn’t doing a good job in the past,” Twomey said. “But I think getting it up to modern standards has been great, and of course integrity has been key. Being able to ensure that agents are held accountable and operating within best practice is important.”

Twomey said the last three to six months have flagged the importance of regulation.

“We’ve seen some really big figures in terms of what horses are selling for,” he said. “In my time, I’ve seen a couple of things go wrong, not necessarily from an agent’s point-of-view, but from within the industry with people doing wrong by buyers. It’s really frustrating to see that, because you do lose investors really quickly if they get a bad experience, and that affects everyone.”