Following a very long engagement, the Financial Services Council (FSC) and Workplace Savings NZ (WSNZ) formalised their union last week in a deal that will house about 80 corporate members.
As at July 1 this year the two industry bodies – which have shared a secretariat since 2016 – will operate under the FSC brand with an expanded mandate, according to current chief, Richard Klipin.
Klipin said the enlarged FSC would add further working groups to pick up the sectors previously represented by WSNZ such as traditional super schemes and the licensed independent trustee (LIT) population.
“The FSC now has a broader remit and we are committed to representing the interests of all our groups,” he said.
Merger talks between the two industry bodies, which date back until at least 2015, “moved along apace” over the last 12 months, according to the just-released WSNZ 2018 annual report.
The organisation, which began life as the Association of Superannuation Funds of NZ (ASFONZ) in 1969, recorded 82 members at the last count. As at this year, FSC membership reached 35, including 20 full members (mostly insurers and banks) and 15 associates – up 25 per cent from the December 2016 figures, the group’s latest annual report says.
However, the newly-unified FSC membership of 80 or so is less than the combined numbers given duplications across the industry bodies. All FSC members will fall under a corporate label: LITs, for example, will depend on the schemes they represent signing up for FSC membership.
David Biegel, final WSNZ chair, says in the body’s 2018 annual report that the merger “will end the 50 year history of the organisation which was established in 1969 as ASFONZ and rebranded as Workplace Savings NZ in 2009”.
“With such a history of improving consumer outcomes through its work with government, regulators and industry, it is with some sadness that we will lose Workplace Savings NZ, but I am delighted that the work of the organisation will continue under the FSC brand,” Biegel said in a release last week.
WSNZ signs off with a healthy cash reserve of almost $240,000, the final accounts show, after booking a surplus of about $14,000 for the 2018 calendar year.
“Due to the ongoing relationship with the Financial Services Council, the income and expenses from the 2018 Conference, Shaping Futures, ran through the FSC accounting process, with a 50% profit share of $54,370 returned to Workplace Savings NZ,” WSNZ treasurer, Grant Hodder, says in the report. “Due to this change, total revenue for 2018 was $163,827 (down from $475,218 in 2017), and other main costs included the shared executive support costs with the FSC and accounting related expenses, bringing total expenses to $146,497 (down from $449,132 in 2017).”
The FSC recorded a surplus of just over $200,000 for the 12 months to June 30 last year on revenue of $1.24 million compared to an approximately $48,000 profit on total income of $900,000 in the previous 12-month period.
FSC membership subs jumped from about $845,000 in the 2017 period to over $1 million the following year as expenses also rose from $850,000 to $1 million plus (including salaries almost doubling from $280,000 to $550,000) in 2018.
The industry body reported over $500,000 in reserves as at June last year. Details of the new membership fee schedules were not yet available.
Klipin said the FSC is well-advanced on planning for its annual conference set down for September 11-12 in Auckland. The ‘Towards wellbeing’ conference will be the first for the newly-unified industry body, although the FSC and WSNZ jointly-hosted the event on two previous occasions.
Earlybird tickets for the FSC conference are available until the end of May, Klipin said. He said a number of politicians and regulators have already confirmed speaking spots at the conference along with the young New Zealander of the year, Kendall Flutey.