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Advisory model rolled out

Two Scots are turning Hawke’s Bay into New Zealand’s Ireland.

Stewart Group owners Nick and Don Stewart recently launched Boutique Advisers Alliance (BAA), an advisory service for fee-only Independent Financial Advisers (IFA).

So far it has $235 million of committed funds.

The service offers Stewart Group investment committee expertise. The committee includes New Zealand Institute of Economic Research principal economist and former Cullen Fund investment committee member Aaron Drew.

Five New Zealand firms use the advice and four a back-end offering, which Nick Stewart said is needed as compliance costs escalated with an anticipated increase in regulation.

The Institute of Financial Advisers estimated the cost of being an IFA at $21,800 per year, a cost likely to climb.

IFAs are expected to achieve continuing education credits annually and onerous reporting requirements, including an anti-money laundering audit.

“It is expensive to be an adviser and if you have big overheads, in terms of central Auckland rent and Auckland-level human resources to pay, then you need a big business. That’s where we come in,” he said.

“This is what they did in Ireland back-in-the-day. A lot of back-end financial services businesses are based in Ireland for good reason: the people are skilled, highly literate with good language skills and relatively cheap. That’s why they won business from big cities like London.

“We have lower cost of living therefore lower rates. The cost of leak human capital is cheaper in the Bay and we have one of the lowest wage rates in the country.”

BAA offers cost aggregation, portfolio models, reporting “and the whole suite to run their business”.

“For a lot of businesses we run their back-room rebalancing and tax reporting, and anti-money laundering process.

“We are quite a bespoke offering. We want to give advisers flexibility – we don’t want to straitjacket them.

BAA could potentially cater to 20 advisory businesses.

“Having a Structured Passive investment philosophy, and being fee-only and independent, narrows the field considerably.”