Bruce Kerr has resigned as head of Workplace Savings New Zealand after more than a decade heading the employer superannuation peak body.
Kerr, who announced his resignation at last week’s Workplace Savings conference in Wellington, said he was stepping aside to focus on his licensed independent trustee (LIT) duties.
“2016 is going to be a challenging year for LITs as schemes manage their FMC [Financial Markets Conduct Act] journeys,” he said. “Trustees have a responsibility to engage more if the transition is to go smoothly for members – and that’s going to demand more time from me.”
Kerr is currently an LIT on three schemes – Westpac staff super, Dairy industry and Shell – and is about to join one more.
“For any LIT, four or five schemes is probably the maximum they can handle without stretching capacity,” he said.
Under the FMC all ‘restricted schemes’ that transition to the new regime by next December must appoint at least one LIT.
According to the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) a ‘restricted scheme’ is “a KiwiSaver, superannuation or workplace savings scheme on the register of Managed Investment Schemes, and is identified on it as a restricted scheme”.
James Hartley, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment head of financial markets policy, told the Workplace Savings conference slightly under 200 restricted schemes – at the most – were expected to remain post FMC.
To date, the FMA has accredited 11 LITs.
Kerr was hired as executive director of Workplace Savings NZ – then-known as the Association of Superannuation Funds of NZ (ASFONZ) – in 2003.
While the number and membership of employer schemes has been in decline for more than a decade, the sector still manages over $15 billion on behalf of over 380,000 members, according to the 2014 FMA superannuation funds report.
The introduction of KiwiSaver in 2007 – now managing almost $30 billion for more than 2.5 million New Zealanders – sparked a renaissance for ASFONZ and prompted the change of name in 2009 to reflect the group’s wider purpose.
Kerr will finish up at Workplace Savings on December 19 this year. The search for his replacement is underway with John Melville, co-founder of actuarial consulting firm Melville Jessup Weaver, tipped as an early contender.