Bank buys into KiwiSaver

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013
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ROBERT CHARLES
TSB Bank chief executive Kevin Murphy

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TSB Bank has launched itself into the burgeoning KiwiSaver investment business.

The bank purchased a 26 per cent share-holding of Fisher Funds soon after the disclosure Fisher had bought Tower Investments' KiwiSaver and Wealth Management Portfolio.

Chief executive Kevin Murphy said it was a first for the TSB Bank.

"Obviously it opens up a huge opportunity for us," Mr Murphy told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.

Fisher Funds had a significant client base which gave the bank an opportunity to sell its services to increased numbers. At the same time Fisher could offer its services to the bank's clients.

"TSB Bank has consistently been rated as the No 1 bank in New Zealand for customer service and in Fisher Funds we see a KiwiSaver provider with similar values and commitment that will give the bank's customers direct access to a high quality portfolio of investment opportunities."

The bank explored a number of opportunities to become a KiwiSaver provider early last year. It looked at where the bank wanted to be in five years' time, Mr Murphy said.

Retirement investments were a key product the bank's clients were looking for and there had been a high take-up of KiwiSaver, he said.

"We identified KiwiSaver was an integral part of retirement saving for most people these days."

Mr Murphy said management was "very protective of our brand" but after a series of meetings with Fisher Funds, "everything clicked into place".

The 26 per cent shareholding was a significant investment and the bank would have representation on the Fisher board to ensure hands-on decisions regarding future direction.

"That's got to be good."

Mr Murphy would not say what the bank's current client base was but the bank had $4 billion in investments with 14 branches within Taranaki and 11 branches outside the region.

"We came from small roots 160 years ago and have a lot to be thankful for in the 1980s when we were saved from amalgamation with Trustbank.

"The fact that Taranaki province still owns its own bank is a huge advantage."

As a result of the buy-up, there would be long-term benefits to the Taranaki community through enhanced dividends flowing through to the TSB Community Trust, he said.

However, it was too early to quantify the amount it might increase by.

The bank still had a number of strategies lined up to ensure it would continue to grow and expand.

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Nothing would change for the current Superlife KiwiSaver clients, Mr Murphy said.

Fisher Funds managing director Carmel Fisher was equally delighted to have joined forces with the bank.

"In seeking a partner to join us in this acquisition, TSB Bank was an obvious choice," she said.

- Taranaki Daily News

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