Trustees Executors (TE) has re-signed with Bravura to supply registry software after earlier toying with a blockchain-based solution.
TE chief, Ryan Bessemer, said the Wellington-based group opted to stick with incumbent registry software provider Bravura, upgrading to the most recent version of the ASX-listed firm’s Sonata system.
Bessemer said while TE had been testing a blockchain-built registry system using technology supplied by Australian provider, Grow Super, the mooted delivery date was “too far away”.
“Bravura has engaged positively with us and the latest version of Sonata meets our needs well,” he said. “We’re still keen to work with Grow Super on other projects.”
The deal is a key NZ win for Bravura, which has strong historical links this side of the Tasman with its 2005 purchase of the Tacit Group (makers of the precursor Sonata software, Talisman). In an unrelated move, Bravura appointed Kylie Bryant late in April to the newly-established position of country head. Bryant joined Bravura as country manager NZ from ASB, where she most recently served as customer experience general manager.
Meanwhile, TE had completed a number of other technology upgrades over recent months, Bessemer said, with others in the pipeline including the launch of a new direct-to-consumer investment platform.
As reported last year, TE partnered with Australian firm Research IP (headed by Darren Howlin) and Harbour Asset Management to build a platform for the increasingly crowded NZ market. The project, currently bundled under holding company Formosa Wealth, taps into technology Research IP developed for the Taiwan fund market. Research IP is also rolling out a NZ fund research business to compete with the likes of FundSource (now owned by Australian firm Zenith Investment Partners) and Morningstar.
According to Bessemer, the first iteration of the yet-to-be-named platform would limit product types to managed funds, cash and term deposits.
“In later phases we can add other asset classes such as direct equities,” he said.
The move would bring further competition to the direct investment platform world in NZ that has seen exponential member growth of late among all incumbent firms: InvestNow; Sharesies and Hatch. Australian direct US equities firm, Stake also opened to NZ investors last month.
Bessemer said success in the direct-to-consumer market would ultimately come down to “functionality and fees”.
Due to go live later this year, he said the joint project would later target the more technically complex adviser platform business, currently dominated by the MMC-owned Aegis and FNZ. The NZX-owned Wealth Technologies has made inroads into the investment platform business, signing on cornerstone clients Hobson Wealth and Craigs Investment Partners over the last couple of years.
Last week TE also completed its board refresh, naming Financial Services Council chief, Richard Klipin, as director.
Since April 2018 TE has seen seven directors exit with Matthew Sale (appointed in May 2018) the last to leave the board in December 2019.
In his first governance role, Klipin joins Laurence Kubiak (appointed chair in April) and fellow directors, Bessemer, Victoria Grace and Graeme Kirkpatrick on the TE board.
Bessmer said Klipin had a wide knowledge of both the NZ and Australian financial services industry that would boost TE’s trans-Tasman ambitions. He said while TE could increase the board count to seven, the current line-up of five directors would form a stable base for at least the next couple of years.