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A what manager?

Fund managers look after billions of dollars for New Zealanders, however Kiwis don't know what fund managers do.

Thursday, February 4th 1999, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

New research has highlighted New Zealanders’ uncertainty about financial planning and the role of a financial adviser.
A survey by Armstrong Jones has found many people feel they have no idea what a fund manager actually does.
The survey asked 500 New Zealanders to rate (on a scale of 1 to 7) how confident they would be in explaining the roles of both a bank and a fund manager.
While most people were confident they knew the function of a bank, few were clear about the role of fund managers. The survey found:

  • Respondents ranked themselves, on average, 5 out of 7 on their understanding and ability to explain the function of a bank.
  • Conversely, when they ranked their confidence in understanding and explaining what a fund manager does, people predominantly ranked their ability with the lowest score: just 1 out of 7.
  • The 50-59 age group feel the most confident in their understanding of the function of a fund manager.
Armstrong Jones says the findings show New Zealanders may still be unclear about the difference between saving and investing.
General manager sales and marketing Bruce Morrison says there is an urgent need for people to understand the long-term benefits of investing in growth assets.
He says building a diversified portfolio is critical, to meet their longer term goals.
“Savings rates for New Zealanders are still dangerously low, and most of the money set aside now lies in term deposits in the bank,” he says.
“In this country, the ratio of money in low interest savings accounts versus managed funds is 5:1. In the United States, where unit trusts have been around for decades, the ratio is 1:1.”
Morrison says the entire managed fund industry has a role to educate, explain and satisfy the public that unit trusts, superannuation funds and insurance bonds can meet their short term, and long term retirement needs.
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