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National strategy to lift financial literacy, St Laurence increases its profit, Mercers super fund cracks $1 bill and goes for default provider status.

Monday, December 4th 2006, 5:52AM
A national strategy to lift New Zealanders’ competence and knowledge of financial matters is to be kicked off by the government and led by the Retirement Commission.

The commission will lead it with the assistance of an Advisory Committee. The strategy is expected to be complete by December 2007.

“International research suggests that financial literacy is linked to wealth. So this strategy is essential if we are to lift New Zealanders’ standard of living and wealth,” Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan says.

While some New Zealanders’ financial IQ is okay, others struggle. Our knowledge of investments, savings and mortgages is poor.

“There is no quick-fix solution. It’s likely a range of strategies will be needed, including incorporating financial education into the school curriculum, simplifying financial products, eradicating financial jargon, and continuing to provide information and tools to help people make informed decisions about their money.

The commission is also developing a curriculum for teaching personal financial skills in schools and is working with Ngai Tahu and Te Puni Kokiri to incorporate financial education into bilingual and total immersion primary schools.

St Laurence Property & Finance has announced a net surplus after tax of $8.61 million for the half year ending September 30.

Total group operating revenue for the half year was up from $20.2 million to $28.2 million in the corresponding period. There was an increase in rental income generated by the group, and realised gains of $2.2 million of property sales during the half year.

Total group assets decreased by 3% over the half year, from $381.0 million to $370.4 million. The reduction in assets was due to the repayment of $16.9 million of debenture stock over the period from cash resources and minimal new investment activity.

The net surplus for the half year does not include any gains in the book values of the group’s property portfolio.

The Mercer Super Trust has reached $1 billion in funds under management within eight years.

“This milestone is representative of the recent growth in workplace savings schemes in New Zealand which is both encouraging and essential as the launch of KiwiSaver approaches,” Mercer Human Resource Consulting head Tim Jenkins says. “However, for KiwiSaver to be a resounding success there needs to be a significant change in employees’ savings habits.”

“We believe there is a strong imperative for savings providers to continue to work with employers to create a compelling savings proposition for employees, regardless of whether they choose to enter a KiwiSaver scheme or operate their own corporate scheme,” Jenkins said.

In addition to the Mercer Super Trust, Mercer also provides consulting and administration services to workplace superannuation schemes, with more than 80,000 members under administration.

Mercer will be offering an “employer-chosen” KiwiSaver product as a new part of the Mercer Super Trust offering from July 1 and is seeking a role as default KiwiSaver provider.

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AIA - Back My Build 6.19 - - -
AIA - Go Home Loans 8.74 7.45 7.05 6.85
ANZ 8.64 7.99 7.49 7.35
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BNZ - Green Home Loan top-ups - - - 1.00
BNZ - Mortgage One 8.69 - - -
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China Construction Bank Special - - - -
Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - 7.15 - -
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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Co-operative Bank - Standard 8.40 7.85 7.39 7.25
Credit Union Auckland 7.70 - - -
First Credit Union Special - 7.45 7.35 -
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Heartland Bank - Reverse Mortgage - - - -
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HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
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ICBC 7.85 7.05 6.85 6.59
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Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - - - -
Kiwibank 8.50 8.35 7.89 7.65
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Median 8.64 7.45 7.37 6.77

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