Trustee Partners crosses the ditch

Trustee Partners made its first overseas investment, acquiring a New Zealand fiduciary services firm with an offer too strong to ignore.

A dominant fiduciary services business in the New Zealand market, Complectus, was bought by Trustee Partners in a strategic move that provides the firm with access to the New Zealand trustee market.

Under the deal, Trustee Partners now owns Perpetual Guardian, Guardian Trust, Covenant Trustee Services and New Zealand Trustee Services.

"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," Trustee Partners managing director Phillip Kingston said.

"Complectus is a high-quality business with a talented management team that possesses vast experience in the fiduciary services sector. 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 was established by philanthropist and entrepreneur Andrew Barnes, who brought together New Zealand's oldest trustee companies, Perpetual Trust and Guardian Trust. The business as it exists today is the result of natural growth and a number of acquisitions made over the years by Complectus.

The business operates two main divisions: corporate trustee services (CTS) and personal client services (PCS). CTS hold about 58% market share in New Zealand corporate trustee services with total funds under supervision of about NZ$142 billion. Meanwhile, PCS provides a range of trustee, estate, and related services to individuals/families, private trusts, and charitable trusts in New Zealand, and holds about NZ$3.3 billion AUM.

Complectus commenced an IPO process last year which saw interest from a number of trade and private equity organisations, with the offer from Trustee Partners proving strongest.

"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," Barnes said.

Complectus chief executive Grant Kemble said the firm is looking forward to expanding a program of technology innovation to benefit its current and future customers, while maintaining the same high level of service and customer care for which it's known.

"This acquisition is a natural progression for a thriving 21st century, profitable business that needs to step into a new phase of growth, and the company's success over recent years will continue with investment from Trustee Partners on an expanded Australasian footing," Kemble said.

The deal is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks, having already secured Overseas Investment Office approval.

Read more: ComplectusGuardian TrustAndrew BarnesCovenant Trustee ServicesGrant KembleNew Zealand Trustee ServicesOverseas Investment OfficePhillip Kingston
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