A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

Inside Money: Of God and Gareth: behind the schemes

Gareth Morgan. Photo / Jane Ussher
Gareth Morgan. Photo / Jane Ussher

In the latest missive to members the Gareth Morgan KiwiSaver (GMK) scheme reveals a doubling (or maybe it's a dilution) of brand power.

The note to members advisers the GMK logo will now be accompanied by the words 'Kiwi Wealth', in keeping with its new, somewhat convoluted, ownership structure.

"... earlier this year Gareth Morgan KiwiSaver Limited was purchased by Kiwi Wealth Management Limited, which is owned by Kiwi Group Holdings Limited. Kiwi Group Holdings Limited also owns Kiwibank Limited," the GMK note says.

"Adding the words Kiwi Wealth is an up-front way of acknowledging this change, and it cuts a long story short!"

But it also makes a short brand longer, a state of affairs that probably won't be tolerated for ever (although, as the ANZ/National saga showed, some names do linger).

The GMK brand is, of course, closely identified with the underlying personality, and banks excel at removing that quality from their business models.

KiwiBank's attempt at brand unity has not yet translated into an actual unification of its two KiwiSaver schemes. As reported in August, KiwiBank has to clear a regulatory hurdle before its planned merger of the AMP-managed KiwiSaver scheme with the GMK (Kiwi Wealth) can go ahead in its preferred, mass transfer, manner.

It is understood, KiwiBank is still mulling over instructions from the Financial Markets Authority that will determine how the merger will proceed.

The KiwiSaver sector as a whole is also facing transformational decisions. As reported earlier this week, the almost-final draft of the new KiwiSaver investment disclosure rules, which seek to widen and standardise scheme returns and fee info, are now open for comment.

But the effects of the most recent round of reform the requirement for KiwiSaver schemes to appoint an independent corporate trustee have been finalised. According to the FMA, nine KiwiSaver schemes have now been classed as 'restricted' schemes, which means they don't have to comply with the new trustee rule but must also limit their membership to a tightly defined group of people.

As well as three sea-based union schemes, the restricted providers most notably include the 12,000-member Medical Assurance KiwiSaver and the local council-sponsored Supereasy scheme (which boasts about 6,000 members).

God is also a factor, with membership of the Anglican Koinonia scheme and, appropriately, the Restricted Brethren-owned BCF scheme, now restricted to chosen ones only.

- NZ Herald

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A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David is a freelance journalist who has covered the financial services business on both sides of the Tasman for over 15 years. He is the editor of industry website Investment News. David has edited magazines and websites for the financial advice, investment and superannuation industries.

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