I provided a public service: salesman

By Christopher Adams

Patrick Diack. Photo / Supplied
Patrick Diack. Photo / Supplied

An unregistered KiwiSaver salesman accused by the Financial Markets Authority of using pressure tactics on his customers says he was providing a "public service".

Patrick Diack, 43, said over the past two years he managed to get 4000 people to join the scheme, or transfer to a new provider.

The Wellingtonian's main tactic involved approaching beneficiaries outside Work and Income New Zealand offices and offering them $10 in return for signing up.

"One day I did 35 [people] in Flaxmere," Diack said.

He said many of the people he approached had been under the impression they needed to be employed in order to become KiwiSaver members.

"I said, 'Nah that's not true - even children can join, you get $1000 [the Government's kickstart contribution] and payments are purely voluntary'," Diack said. "I thought I was doing a public service quite frankly."

He said he received $30 for every person he talked into either joining the scheme or changing to a new provider, meaning he would have made $120,000 off his 4000 successful sign-ups.

Part-Samoan Diack said he targeted Maori and Polynesian members of the public because he had little luck with "white, middle-class" people.

"Quite quickly I realised what was my market - white, working-class people, Maoris and Polynesians."

Diack said he started out representing Huljich Wealth Management, before moving on to work for Fidelity Life, Grosvenor and Super Life.

Super Life offered him a $5000 bonus if he managed to sign 1000 people up to its KiwiSaver plan in two months, although he eventually gave up on that challenge, he said.

Fidelity Life tipped-off the FMA about his selling techniques, Diack said, which led to the regulator ordering him to cease his activities.

The FMA was talking to all the providers Diack had represented, said its chief executive, Sean Hughes.

Diack, however, rejected the regulator's accusation that he had used pressure tactics.

The FMA also said he failed to provide his customers with an investment statement - an accusation Diack denies - and in doing so breached the Securities Act.

Hughes said Diack also breached the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act, which came into force on March 31.

But Diack said his career in the finance industry was over.He had signed up for an unemployment benefit yesterday and was eyeing up a career in politics with Hone Harawira's newly formed Mana Party.

- NZ Herald

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