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BT sale completed, Getting Access online, TeNZ too pricey, Actively seeking members.

Sunday, September 5th 1999, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

US-based Principal Financial Group completed its A$2.1 billion BT Funds Management acquisition last week.

The acquisition was financed through proceeds from a private debt offering and internal sources and brings the combined assets of the group to US$105.8 billion.

Principal chairman David Drury says the factors that have made BT a success won't change. "Clients will continue to receive the best customer service and strong investment performance, while benefiting from a stable owner with a full range of offerings in retirement services and institutional asset management."

BT, under its new owners, is keen to develop the small and medium enterprise market in Australasia.

As part of the deal, Principal bought the right to use the BT brand name.

"Our priority now is to continue the momentum and growth characterising BT's pre-sale status," BT chief executive Ian Martin says

Getting Access online


Access Brokerage is the latest sharebroker to launch an Internet trading service. Web-Broker, as the new service is called, provides investors with a fully integrated Internet trading service.

Access chief executive Peter Marshall says Web-Broker, which charges $29.50 per trade, heralds the introduction of per trade brokerage fees to the New Zealand market.

Broking online in New Zealand isn't as "online" as other countries as NZSE policy prevents orders flowing directly into its trading system. Web-broker encompasses order placement, order status, order alteration and cancellation, order history and integrated portfolio-monitoring facilities. Web-Broker clients can monitor orders as they progress through to completion with real-time order status updates

Other firms offering online services in New Zealand include Direct and DF Mainland. Sanford Securities and E*Trade offer services for investors wanting to trade shares listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

TeNZ too pricey
The Stock Exchange's failure to sell the management contract for the TeNZ index fund was related to price, not concerns about the binding ruling as has been reported elsewhere.

Market sources claim the exchange was wanting up to $3 million for the management company. This was considered way too high as the company's revenue was $665,569 in the year to June 30, and management fees were down 31 per cent on the previous year to $113,817.

One manager who considered buying the business said the price was too high considering it could set up a listed index fund like TeNZ for a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

While tax advantages are a big advantage for index funds in New Zealand they would still be considered a valid investment alternative without such benefits.

Good Returns first reported the failure of the sales process on July 8. Click here to see the story.

Actively seeking members
The Society of Independent Financial Advisers (SIFA) is keen to actively promote itself and expand its membership base.

Chairman Evan Still says the association currently has 47 members and would like to lift the number to between 80 and 90.

SIFA was established as a collegial organisation where advisers could share ideas to help develop their businesses, and in that sense is more like a co-operative, than a professional association.

The main criteria for joining is independence, which is described as not having production targets or tied agency arrangements.

Recently the association proposed "a slight softening" of the definition of independence as some of the master trust operators specify advisers have to write a set percentage of business to the promoters' products.

Still says the new proposal leaves SIFA "slightly left of extreme right wing" on the independence issue.

To maintain membership members are required to attend a specified number of conferences.

Advisers interested in joining the association should contact Deborah Evans at International Financial Planners, Auckland. Either phone 09-3020119 or email IFP@clear.net.nz

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