Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Huljich fined for misleading KiwiSavers

Peter Hulijich. Photo / Paul Esctourt
Peter Hulijich. Photo / Paul Esctourt

Peter Huljich has been fined $112,500 in the Auckland District Court this morning for his part in misleading investors about his KiwiSaver scheme.

The company he directed, Huljich Wealth Management received a fine of $239,000 and was ordered to pay $95,000 to the prosecution court costs.

Huljich, who pleaded guilty in September, faced one charge and the company - now known as HWM NZ Holdings - faced two charges in a case brought by the Financial Markets Authority. Earlier this month he asked for a discharge without conviction.

Both Huljich and the company were charged as being promoters of the KiwiSaver scheme.

Judge Brook Gibson said this morning that Huljich's co-operation with the court, his previous good character and his guilty plea were mitigating factors in the sentence. Judge Gibson also mentioned that Huljich had already suffered damage to his reputation.

Speaking outside the court, Huljich said he was pleased to have given his side of the story
and was "looking forward to moving on".

Huljich Wealth Management advertised itself as a market leader in terms of KiwiSaver performance and grew to be the largest privately owned KiwiSaver fund.

The charges relate to misrepresentations of the performance of the company's KiwiSaver scheme in offer documents between May 2008 and January 2010.

The documents contained graphs that compared the Huljich KiwiSaver Funds' performance with other competitor funds but failed to disclose the Huljich performance figures included related party payments made at the direction of Huljich.

FMA lawyer Christine Gordon SC told the court that without Huljich's top-ups the performances of the funds would have been materially worse.

She said in the year following "Huljich Wealth performed towards the bottom or at the bottom in terms of the funds in the KiwiSaver market". She said Huljich's actions had undermined the public's confidence in KiwiSaver and in investing generally.

The FMA argued for a starting point of a fine between $700,000 and $800,000 for each of the two defendants.

- NZ Herald

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