Wealthpoint Recognised For Delivery To Members
Wealthpoint has been recognised as the Emerging Business of the Year at Co-operative Business NZ’s annual awards ceremony in Auckland. These awards celebrate success across the co-operative and mutual sector which generates almost one-fifth of New Zealand’s GDP by revenue and includes well known businesses such as Fonterra, Southern Cross, Mitre 10 and FMG.
Wealthpoint formed in 2019 and is one of the largest independent advisory networks in NZ, with 50 member businesses and 155 advisers operating nationally.
When presenting the award, the judges recognised both the breadth and complexity of Wealthpoint’s member offering, noting that the business had scaled up to provide a full service offering for shareholder members across four key financial advice disciplines – life, health and general insurance, investments and mortgages.
Nigel Rukuwai, Wealthpoint Chairman, said that the new board had carefully considered whether to adopt a co-operative structure when Wealthpoint was formed and the decision to do so has proven to be a key factor in their success. “We needed a structure that would ensure Wealthpoint would be a member owned entity and one where profits were reinvested into expanding member services. Having a continuous cycle of new development and reinvestment has become a core theme of our three-year strategy” said Rukuwai.
Mark Nalder, Head of Strategy and Growth said the past 18 months has been critical for Wealthpoint as it moved beyond a setup phase to develop several new services to members and their customers. In this time, they have developed a member owned general insurance brokerage accessing more than 20 general insurers, built a leading investment proposition including delivery of Wealthpoint branded investment model portfolios, and established itself as a full mortgage aggregator with supplier relationships across all main banks and many non-bank lenders.
More recently, Wealthpoint has created a new role to lead improvements to its risk insurance offering, says Nalder, including technical advice, tools and support to assist advisers when reviewing clients’ existing cover.
“Our competitive advantage comes from our co-operative structure. We prioritise delivery of services that help members to be successful. Some of these services might not offer the immediate payback that would perhaps be demanded if we had external shareholders”, says Nalder. He cites the successes Wealthpoint has had in supporting recruitment of new advisers into member business as an example. Around 60 new advisers have been recruited since January 2021 – with almost half female and the average age in the mid-high 30s. “Few entities appear to be making meaningful investments to growing the industry’s adviser force to counter the adviser exits seen over the past few years.”
Other recently implemented member services were recognised by the award judges including Wealthpoint’s new loan facility that provides capital to members to support their business growth, and the development of a Member Rebate model to distribute surpluses back to Members in proportion to their annual trading volumes.