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Huljich cuts funds as KiwiSaver push intensifies

Auckland-based boutique fund manager Huljich Wealth Management has closed most of its unit trusts as its push into the KiwiSaver market ramps up.

Tuesday, June 24th 2008, 5:24AM

by David Chaplin

Huljich, whose board includes former National Party identities Don Brash and John Banks, launched six PIE-compliant unit trusts in August last year but will now scale that back to two.

At the same time the group also released three KiwiSaver schemes which will be unaffected by the latest changes.

Peter Huljich, managing director of the firm, said in light of current market turmoil the group decided it was not appropriate to sell its riskier single sector funds to the "general public".

Any money in the closed funds would probably revert to individual accounts, which Huljich already runs for its traditional "sophisticated" client base.

"It's more efficient because we don't need a prospectus or unit trust structure," Huljich said.

However, the firm would keep open the Diversified Balanced Fund and a new Australasian-focused product under the unit trust structure, he said.

Previously, Huljch unit trust offerings included a NZ fixed interest fund, an international equity product and an Australasian property and infrastructure fund.

In a deal announced earlier this year Huljich will also be promoting its KiwiSaver funds through the listed NZF group (formerly known as New Zealand Finance) and the Mike Pero mortgage broker chain, which NZF has a 50% stake in.

Peter Huljich is a non-executive director of NZF and holds close to 10% of the company's shares. He is currently on a national roadshow highlighting the group's KiwiSaver products.

In its latest annual report, NZF said it would distribute the Huljich KiwiSaver funds under the 'NZF SuperKiwi' brand in the second half of this year.

"KiwiSaver is another product like house & contents insurance or life insurance that should form part of all discussions that mortgage brokers have with their clients at the time of providing mortgage advice," the NZF report says.

According to Huljich, NZF and Mike Pero mortgage brokers are being trained in KiwiSaver and must score at least 90% in a test before becoming accredited to sell the products.

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