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Getting a grip on savings levels

Australian-based fund manager EquitiLink has produced a household savings indicator that has remarkable similarities in parts to one already being produced by WestpacTrust and FPG Research.

Friday, June 12th 1998, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

Australian-based fund manager EquitiLink has produced a household savings indicator that has remarkable similarities in parts to one already being produced by WestpacTrust and FPG Research.
The EquitiLink indicator was developed by the company's recently appointed general manager Richard Flinn who, until late last year, was an executive director with FPG and was one of the people responsible for developing and managing the WestpacTrust/FPG indices.
While there are a number of similarities between this and the fight FPG is having with IPAC Securities over star ratings, FPG says it's "not going to have a big fight over it."

FPG communications manager Deirdre Kweon says the company is "indifferent and a little bit puzzled about what value (EquitiLink's indicator) adds".
"We can't see any point getting wound up about it. It will die a natural death," she says.
The WestpacTrust/FPG indices are more comprehensive and an already established piece of research on the New Zealanders' savings patterns.
The EquitiLink indicators (which can be seen on the features page) cover just the financial assets held by New Zealanders, while the WestpacTrust/FPG one is more comprehensive covering a wider range of assets including housing stock.
Flinn says the indicator was part of EquitiLink's branding strategy. He says EquitiLink wants to improve its profile, but doesn't have the sort of budget which would allow it to run a series of television advertisements or billboards at major football stadiums.
Doing something in the research area made sense because of Flinn's background. Also the research work involved in the indicator was being done in-house for business planning purposes so releasing it publicly was not a lot of extra effort.
EquitiLink wanted to be seen as a manager that understood savings levels and was interested in promoting New Zealanders as savers.
Flinn says there hasn't been a WestpacTrust/FPG survey since September so, he wasn't aware if it was continuing.
Kweon says the household savings index is continuing and the next one is due to be released on Monday.
The EquitiLink indicator is based on publicly available data sourced from the Reserve Bank. Ironically some of that data is gathered by FPG on contract for the bank.
Flinn says EquitiLink is planning to produce further research on savings patterns.
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