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Public Trust Reports An Improved Performance

14 October 2005

Public Trust Reports An Improved Performance For The Year, Posting A Net Profit Of $1.04 Million

Public Trust today reported a surplus after tax of $1.04 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2005, up from $125,000 in 2003/04.

Public Trust Chief Executive Pat Waite said, “The result is a significant improvement on the modest profits achieved in the last two years.

“Equity increased to $40.05 million from $39.02 million and the surplus provided a 2.66% return on equity, which while up significantly on the previous year fell short of our target of 2.96% for the year.

“This improvement in our business and financial performance has been hard won and follows investment in the business including training and updating technology infrastructure. The targets that were set for the year were ambitious and, in the event proved to be so. Nonetheless the increase in the surplus after tax was made during a year when we continued to invest in the business,” Mr Waite said.

Key achievements for the year included increased income from funds under management; investment gains in the Common Fund client funds under management up $77 million to $658 million from $581 million last year; preparing over 21,000 Wills where Public Trust was appointed executor; a 128% increase year on year in Fee Protect funds under management (Fee Protect looks after fees paid in advance to private training establishments); a 100% increase in new family trusts written; and the Corporate Trustee Services division building its presence and business in the important Auckland market.

Public Trust’s Corporate Trustee Services division which serves the corporate and business market increased the assets under supervision to $11.6 billion at balance date, up from $11.3 billion 12 months earlier.

Mr Waite said, “Corporate Trustee Services has strengthened its representation in the important Auckland market and made significant new business gains in that city. This is on the back of a growing demand for our expertise, sometimes packaged in new ways, from retirement villages and structured finance issues, where there is an increasing awareness of the need for prudential supervision and the value provided by a professional trustee.”

Public Trust manages over 400 charitable trusts with cumulative total assets around $200 million and interests as diverse as science, medicine, disability and agriculture. These include the TG Macarthy Trust, the JBS Dudding Charitable Trust, the William Georgetti Scholarship, the Claude McCarthy Fellowship and the Charles Plimmer Trust.
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It also is responsible for the ongoing management of more than 3,500 residential properties and 30 farm properties including farm training schemes at Smedley Farm in Hawkes Bay and a property in Gisborne which between them graduate approximately 11 students each year.

Looking ahead Mr Waite says Public Trust faces the challenge of many longstanding organisations; to understand market needs and adapt and develop our services to meeting customers’ requirements in today’s environment and into the future.

“Public Trust is New Zealand’s largest and most enduring trustee organisation; we employ 450 people working from 35 customer centres throughout the country; we hold over 330,000 New Zealanders’ Wills and draft over 21,000 Wills each year; and our estate managers look after more deceased estates than any other organisation.

“Despite economies of scale, a proven technology platform to support our business and increased promotion of our service, our core trustee services business operates in a very competitive sector and Public Trust’s revenue has improved only marginally. To grow our business and further improve our financial performance will require capitalising on the insights we have gained into our customer and wider market needs, using our trustee expertise and experience and applying it in innovative ways. Meeting this challenge will position Public Trust for long term growth.

“The fact that Public Trust is a longstanding institution, one whose people have been looking after New Zealanders for over 132 years, is in our favour. The wider financial services sector has undergone considerable consolidation and change in recent years with many well-known providers having disappeared.

“Our market research tells us that people prefer to deal with enduring organisations that they can trust to always be there for them. In that sense we can say our time has come; this provides Public Trust with an opportunity to build on our proud history and enables us to better help more New Zealanders achieve their trustee and related financial goals,” Mr Waite said.

ENDS

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