The last shoe has dropped for Sargon NZ following the departure of its lone remaining supervisor client, Kernel Wealth.
Dean Anderson, Kernel founder, said the digital passive fund provider would shift supervisor duties to Trustees Executors (TE) effective March 23.
Anderson said the start-up firm “engaged with all parties” prior to selecting TE as replacement supervisor.
“They were the right fit for our business,” he said. “It has been a relatively simple process to switch.”
As reported last week, Sargon’s two other recently acquired NZ clients – Christian Savings and Kōura Wealth – went with the government-owned Public Trust as supervisor.
Sargon only launched its “technology-enabled” supervisory tools in NZ late last year after buying into the market via Heritage Trustees in December 2018. But despite picking up three quick clients and some positive industry feedback, the Sargon NZ push was undone by the collapse of its debt-laden Australian parent company into administration this January.
While the Sargon drama is still unraveling, Australian press reported last week that a former director of the company, US private equity investor Teddy Wasserman, was in line to buy part of the troubled firm including the NZ assets.
Early in March the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) said it was “seeking further information” on the alleged Sargon sale.
The regulator still lists Heritage Trustees as a licensed supervisor.
As at Friday last week, Sargon NZ directors were unchanged – bar the resignation of chair, Richard Hanna, late in January. As well as Sargon NZ chief, Edward Russell, the board includes Darran Goodger (from Australia), Harold Titter and Mel Hewitson. Although, the Sargon NZ website seems to have disappeared.
The NZ trustee world was also shaken last week with news that Complectus, which owns two of the six NZ licensed supervisor firms, confirmed it was seeking “opportunities in the Australian market”, appointing Melbourne-based Flagstaff Partners to run the process.