About Escor Group
Escor is an Australian privately owned company. Established in 1995, the Company can trace its origins through Smorgon family businesses back to 1927.
Escor operates as a Family Office managing the interests of the Jack and Robert Smorgon Families.
The interests of the Escor Group are spread across three principal areas:
The organisation is structured around a central administrative core that provides management and infrastructure support for the Group and Family Members and controls the investment and philanthropic activities of the Escor Group.
It takes generations to build a good name and seconds to destroy it
– Norman Smorgon Senior
The Smorgon Family
Eric Smorgon (1911-1999) was the first son of Norman Smorgon who, in 1927 with his brothers Moses and Abram and their families, arrived in Port Melbourne from Russia on a converted cattle ship. Initially establishing a butcher shop, they expanded through the 1930’s into a wholesale meat supply business. In 1941 a meat works was established in West Footscray, with Eric developing and building the world’s first modern chain transport system. The family diversified its operations after the second World War entering the canned fruit business and exporting rabbits to the USA.
During the late 1950’s there was further diversification as a result of commencing paper and board manufacture. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, Smorgon interests continued to grow through glass, plastics, metal recycling, pine forest plantations, overseas paper mills and a steel business. The Smorgon Steel Group was established in the early 1980’s. Over the years, the Group expanded to become the nation’s second largest steel producer and a leading supplier in key markets.
In 1994, the family branches decided to divest the Group’s non-steel businesses. As a result, many new family business groups evolved, including Escor, which was established by Eric Smorgon and his family. In 1999, Smorgon Steel Group floated on the ASX.
The Smorgon story is one of spirit and determination. A desire to succeed has led the family to a range of interests and has contributed significantly to the growth of Australia, through continuing investment, the creation of employment opportunities and generous benefaction.
We manage a range of investments across many asset classes including Australian and International equities and hedge funds, property securities and private equity. Our approach to managing risk and protecting the inherent value within our portfolios enables us to focus on investments across a range of risk/return profiles in all major asset classes to meet our changing needs.
We primarily invest through external fund managers. We seek to reduce risk and enhance returns through diversification of managers, their styles, approaches and regions. This approach provides us access to the experience and knowledge of specialist managers with skills in the various regions, asset classes and approaches.
Our management of our external managers includes monitoring and reviewing their investment performance, adherence to their stated investment style, compliance, changes in personnel, risk management processes and their research & development activities.
We actively seek to add value to our portfolios by constantly developing an understanding of what is happening globally at the relevant economy, sector and company level. This is at the core of our investment philosophy. Structural and economic/political change is constantly reshaping economies, industries and companies. We recognise that in this environment investors do not and cannot have perfect understanding about markets or economies or full knowledge about the forces that are creating these changes.
We recognise that investors’ uncertainty about how market prices are determined can often result in the mispricing of assets in markets. This mispricing can partially explain market volatility. Markets misprice not because investors act irrationally, but because the extent and depth of structural and economic change means that at any one time, many investors do not have sufficient information to determine the fair value/price of an asset. We try to take advantage of these mispricing opportunities by applying a rigorous and disciplined approach to analysing markets and understanding the changes that are constantly in play.
We have extensive involvement in property both throughout Australia and offshore. The majority of our international property related activity tends to be relatively passive investment, whereas, locally we participate in property development as well as property investment.
Our involvement is broad in terms of geography, market sector as well as role. We have projects and/or investments across most of the Australian States and Territories and participate via both direct equity and mezzanine finance. In some cases we own the properties solely and in other situations we have elected to work with others in either a joint venture, partnership or syndicate capacity.
Over several generations we have invested in residential homes and apartments, land subdivision, retail, industrial, hospitality, aged care and commercial properties and we are keen to continue to pursue attractive investment and development opportunites.
The focus to our philanthropy has always been to support community issues, through being creative, innovative and bestow the strength of our family’s passion behind it
– Andrew Blode
The Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation was formed to represent the philanthropic values of Jack and Robert Smorgon and their families.
“Our vision is for the Family to contribute and enjoy philanthropy through involvement, education and passion. The Foundation was not established purely to provide financial contribution to worthy causes, but as a vehicle to keep the family members of all ages involved and to enjoy the interaction of the various generations towards a common goal.” Jack & Robert Smorgon
The Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation provides financial support to many charitable organisations and endeavours to bring an elevated level of energy and contribution from the 40 members of the family through Board representation, fundraising, networking and hands on volunteering to community causes.
The Foundation does not formally receive application for grants, but prefers to identify under resourced areas of the community and work in partnership with Government and other foundations and trusts to provide solutions.
“The focus to our philanthropy has always been to support community issues, through being creative, innovative and bestow the strength of our family’s passion behind it”. Andrew Blode – family member and CEO of the Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation
From 2002 until 2012 we partnered with the Victorian Government for the ‘Victoria Prize Scientific Innovation Award’ and the ‘Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research’ by providing financial assistance to the institutions associated with the Awards to further develop and continue their exceptional research. In addition, the Foundation established the Victorian Children Communities Awards with the Victorian Government to recognise the excellent work provided by the community sector.
Together with other trusts and foundations, the Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation established the Australian Council for Children and Youth Organisations (ACCYO), which has now merged with the Australian Childhood Foundation. The aim of ACCYO is to nationally “Safeguard Children from Child Abuse”. Today over 200 orginisations providing services to over 100,000 children and young people around Australia are being trained in strengthening their policies and procedures to prevent the risk of children becoming abused.
The Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation is a major financial contributor to community causes both within Australia and overseas and the added element of family involvement all facilitate to make a difference.
164 Williams Road
Prahran VIC 3181
Tel: + 61 3 9095 0800