News in brief: Leading economist joins Hawke’s Bay financial planning firm

by NZ Adviser06 Jan 2016
Leading economist joins Hawke’s Bay financial planning firm
Financial planning firm Stewart Financial Group has appointed top economist and investment professional Aaron Drew as its chief investment officer, commencing this month. 

Drew was previously based in Auckland as a principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) and has also worked for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as manager of the modelling and research teams

He says his new role involves working across the business on wealth management, KiwiSaver and adviser to adviser services and he will also maintain his connection with the NZIER as part of the role.

“I’m looking to bring on board the industry knowledge I have to add value to all those areas.”  

“Stewart Group runs a very credible wealth management operation and it’s an exciting opportunity to be part of that. SG is one of the few organisations in New Zealand to have CEFEX accreditation, which indicates they are running a best practice organisation in the global sense.”

SG director Nick Stewart welcomes Drew’s input and knowledge to the firm and believes he will help SG add further value for Kiwi investors.

Auckland Property sales fall but prices hold over December
The sales price of Auckland housing remained stable in December but there was a significant fall in the number of sales compared to those in November and December 2014, according to figures from Barfoot and Thompson.

“Sales data for the final month of the year is sending mixed messages as to where the market will head in 2016,” said Peter Thompson.

“The average sales price for December at $869,492 was down only 0.8 percent on November’s record average price while the median price rose to an all-time high of $800,000, up 0.6 percent on that for November.

“From a price perspective, the market was rock steady.”

Figures over December show the lowest number of sales for that month in the last 4 years and also the lowest in any month for the past 22 months.

“With a growing population and the number of new builds failing to keep pace with demand, competition for properties is likely to remain strong in the first quarter of 2016,” says Thompson.

Lending Crowd’s peer-to-peer platform opens 
New Zealand’s fourth peer-to-peer (P2P) platform is open for business, joining Harmoney, LendMe and Squirrel Money but is the first in New Zealand to offer SMEs access to finance of up to NZ$200,000.

It will also offer specialised vehicle finance and personal loans.

Lending Crowd Managing Director Wayne Croad says there is a strong need for alternative financing for SMEs. 

"This sector is an engine room for the economy generating a third of GDP but despite this SMEs are often frustrated by the complexity of getting finance when they need it quickly and easily.

"Most find the bureaucracy and high interest rates from existing funding sources, including banks, limit their financial elbow room and ability to grow," he says.

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