Aussies buy New Zealand's largest trustee company

Andrew Barnes, managing director of the country's largest trustee company Perpetual Guardian.
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Andrew Barnes, managing director of the country's largest trustee company Perpetual Guardian.

The sale of the country's largest wills, trusts and estates company has been given the green light by the Overseas Investment Office.

Australian firm Trustee Partners will buy the Complectus group of companies including Perpetual Guardian, Guardian Trust, and New Zealand Trustee Services, which have helped many New Zealanders make wills and set up family trusts.

The deal is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.

The Complectus group of companies is owned by Andrew Barnes, who had a vision to use online business models to revolutionise the old-fashioned, paper-based wills and trusts industry.

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"We're attracted to New Zealand because of favourable industry and demographic trends, including increasing household wealth and growing demand for intergenerational wealth transfer solutions," said Trustee Partners' managing director Phillip Kingston.

"It's the strongest in the industry and we look forward to working together to promote innovative, affordable and accessible services to New Zealanders."

Complectus CEO Grant Kemble will remain with the business following the transaction. 

"We look forward to expanding a programme of tech innovation to benefit our current and future customers, while maintaining the same high level of service and customer care for which we are known," Kemble said.

Barnes established Complectus when he brought together New Zealand's oldest trustee companies, Perpetual Trust and Guardian Trust, then expanded it through natural growth and a series of acquisitions.

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"We commenced an IPO process last year, which resulted in a significant number of approaches from both trade participants and private equity organisations. Ultimately the offer from Trustee Partners was too strong to ignore," he said.

"This is the best outcome for Complectus, and of those who expressed interest in the business, Trustee Partners was most aligned with our vision of accessible and affordable fiduciary services for all New Zealanders. Their desire to leave the existing management and staff in place was also a deciding factor for me, and their capacity for future investment will take the group to the next level."

 - Stuff

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