Forsyth Barr is working on a new digital solution for mass-market clients under the Trove sub-brand.
Formed as a company last year, the wholly owned Forsyth Barr subsidiary, Trove, recently listed on the Financial Services Providers Register and entered the regulatory anti money-laundering reporting regime.
While Forsyth Barr was unable to comment, it is understood the Trove venture will offer online investing and savings services enabling the typically high net worth firm to broaden its appeal.
As well as potentially fending off challenges from new-breed investment platforms such as Sharesies and InvestNow, Trove would also bring Forsyth Barr into line with rival broking houses Craigs Investment Partners and Jarden, which both offer services for lower-balance clients.
Jarden purchased the Direct Broking platform from ANZ late in 2018, allowing investors to trade Australasian and US shares as well as bonds, currencies and to access a pipeline of IPOs. The firm hired former NZ Superannuation Fund head of external investments, Fiona Mackenzie, in 2017 to build out its direct wealth division.
Similarly, Craigs targets entry-level investors with the myStart service, offering clients a drip-feed savings plan into a choice of direct securities and funds – albeit with advice supplied.
Trove is likely some months away from a formal launch but at least some regulatory prerequisites now in place. Forsyth Barr has also of late stepped up staff allocation to Trove with head of digital savings, Auriga Martin, among those leading the charge.
Martin, who serves on the Trove board, joined Forsyth Barr mid-2019 after almost 20 years in various technology-based marketing roles.
In her LinkedIn profile, Martin says her “primary focus as Head of Digital Savings is to create digital extensions of Forsyth Barr’s trusted and well established IP for new channels and new markets”.
“I am developing new capabilities and platforms at Forsyth Barr to ensure its digital strategy is fit for a swiftly-changing fintech environment,” she says.
Forsyth Barr also hired Michael Daymond-King as head of innovation in 2018 to drive the company’s digital strategy.
According to his career blurb, Daymond-King has been “involved in the commercialisation of opportunities offered by new technology and led large complex organisations along their digital transformation pathway”.
Last year, Forsyth bought the Westpac private wealth advisory business, adding about 30 staff and over $2 billion in funds under management. Following the Westpac deal, Forsyth Barr tipped above Craigs as the largest network of authorised financial advisers in NZ.