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New people at the People Group

The Auckland-based Insurance People group, which includes significant life, fire and general and mortgage advice operations, has been sold.

Friday, November 24th 2017, 10:58AM

The Ponsonby-based business has been bought by a partnership which includes one of the group’s advisers, Katrina Church, Simon Fisher and Greg Barratt.

Fisher was formerly the sales manager at Partners Life and left last year to head up insurance adviser group Preferred NZ. Barratt is head of distribution and sales at Preferred.

Church has been part of the group for 10 years and runs the life insurance side of the business.

Fisher said his and Barratt’s involvement in this purchase was in their own name, not as part of the Preferred NZ group.

The People Group, was previously owned by Carey Brunel and Glenn Christie. Avanti Finance’s Glen Hawkins also owned a stake in the business.

Brunel said, after 28 years it was time to sell and the business was sold because they had a good offer from a group of people who could contribute new skills to the business. He and Christie were more "deal-doers rather than managers."

Things like impending regulatory changes had no impact on the decision to sell.

In its heyday it was writing around $1 billion in home loans each year, however that is down to around $300 million. More focus had gone into the life insurance side of the business since then and that had grown to a substantial operation, run by Church.

Fisher says the business has “good bones and structure,” as new owners they would “refocus on what the business was doing.”

One of the attractions of the business is that it had successfully managed to do mortgages, life insurance and fire and general. Fisher says many firms try to do this but fail.

Brunel put the success in this area down to "hard work". He says it is difficult as the people in each area are quite different and there is diverse set of skills and personality traits.

Currently it has eight mortgage advisers, three life insurance advisers, four working in the domestic fire and general space and another three advisers doing commercial fire and general.

Brunel and Christie will still have some involvement in the group, but as brokers working in their specialist area of commercial finance. "We're not retiring."

"We have built a significant business and are quite proud of it," he says.

Fisher said the sale price was confidential.

Tags: Carey Brunel Mortgage People

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