Westpac NZ has hired Auckland-based boutique consultancy firm MyFiduciary to provide investment research and governance training to its financial planning arm.
It is understood that the freshly-inked deal will see MyFiduciary help select investment products – among other services – offered through the Westpac advice network.
Under the agreement, the firm will also supply investment governance training to the Westpac NZ financial advisers.
The Westpac win marks another big step for the fast-growing MyFiduciary, which last month landed the Milestone independent advisory group as a client.
In June this year, MyFiduciary signed a deal with Morningstar to use a tailored version of the researcher’s Adviser Research Centre (ARC) tool in NZ.
The arrangement enables MyFiduciary to layer its own asset allocation and portfolio selections over the ARC data.
At the time, Jamie Wickham, Morningstar Australasia chief, said “we’re pleased that this agreement gives us the opportunity to offer our independent research to advisers who work with MyFiduciary”.
Founded in 2006 by Ross Fowler, the consultancy firm has expanded significantly over the last few years taking on former Morningstar head of manager research Asia-Pacific, Chris Douglas, last July.
Ex NZ Superannuation Fund macro strategy manager, Aaron Drew, joined MyFiduciary as principal in 2016 as the business expanded into new areas – including the Pacific Islands.
The business brought on the former head of the Tongan Retirement Fund, Saia Uai Havili, as principal last year.
MyFiduciary is also filling a growing niche in the NZ financial advisory market ahead of the new regulatory regime due to start next June. During the last few years a number of Australian-based research providers have either exited or scaled back NZ operations, leaving an opening for new players.
However, this May another Australian research house, Zenith Investment Partners, bought the long-standing NZ researcher, FundSource, from the NZX promising to revitalise the flagging brand.
The MyFiduciary deal with Westpac further signals potential third-party investment research demand among NZ banks following the recent regulatory investigation of the sector.
In the wake of a three-month regulatory ‘culture and conduct’ review last November, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and the Reserve Bank of NZ (RBNZ) found banks needed to invest in “systems and frameworks to strengthen processes and controls”.
As part of the FMA/RBNZ investigation, all NZ banks agreed to remove sales incentives for all frontline staff. The government is currently developing legislation to cement those rules and broaden the FMA’s remit to cover banks and insurers.