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Advisers needed to sell KiwiSaver

Friday, April 1st 2011, 8:53AM

by Philip Macalister

We’d been waiting for a big KiwiSaver deal and now we have it. Fisher has landed the Huljich business. This is probably no surprise as many had speculated Huljich was only in the game for the short term. Meanwhile Fisher has been acquisitive picking up other books including the First New Zealand KiwiSaver business. So far there has been little explanation of the deal so it’s worth having a look at it. I suspect one of the biggest drivers around Huljich’s decision to sell is adviser regulation. To sell or give advice on KiwiSaver one has to be an AFA. Huljich, like Fidelity, managed to build significant KiwiSaver client bases by using insurance advisers and mortgage brokers to sign up members. These people are no longer able to provide that service. We have produced an in-depth report and analysis on KiwiSaver managers based on last year’s figures. One of the findings is that Huljich and Fidelity were top performers when it came to increasing membership numbers. (The report is available on a subscription basis. For details email philip@goodreturns.co.nz or call 07-3491920). However, both firms also featured at the other end of the table when it came to average members balances. Fisher, meanwhile, had the eighth highest average member balance and that position would have subsequently been reinforced by its FNZC buy. (FNZC was third highest, albeit a small number of members). One of the challenges for Fisher will be to manage what has become a large, and very diverse membership base. Coming back to the reason for the Huljich sale I would guess that adviser regulation means that it has, to all intents and purposes, lost its distribution force. Added to this Huljich had used Mike Pero Mortgages, NZF and Dorchester to sell its products. The first two ended the arrangement earlier this year and it is unclear what Dorchester are doing. How Fisher will manage all these clients will be interesting to watch too. Its model has been very much around direct distribution and they do little with advisers. One clue to this is that Fisher has set up a QFE. This maybe the start of a plan to build its own tied distribution force to sign up and manage clients.  
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ICBC 5.15 3.18 3.18 3.20
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TSB Bank 6.09 4.19 4.35 4.69
TSB Special 5.29 3.39 3.55 3.89
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