Concerns over NZFSG-Kepa deal

Advisers have expressed concerns that a combined NZFSG-Kepa group would exert too much control over the New Zealand adviser market. 

NZFSG and Kepa announced their merger this month, a transaction which will create a national dealer business with more than 1,600 members, settling $17 billion of mortgages and issuing $30 million of life insurance premiums. 

As the dust settles from the group's announcement, advisers have privately expressed concerns that the deal will reduce competition in the adviser space. 

Advisers have contacted TMM Online over fears that the combined NZFSG-Kepa organisation will have too big a share of the market, and are concerned that there will be reduced choice for mortgage brokers as sector consolidation continues. 

Brokers fear the dwindling choice in dealer groups may lead to increased costs for adviser businesses. 

"NZFSG already had a massive share of the market, so I'd be amazed if this wasn't being looked at by the regulators," one adviser said.

It remains unclear how much market share the combined group will control if the merger goes through. 

The takeover deal is subject to Overseas Investment Office and New Zealand Commerce Commission approval. The two companies expect the deal to be settled by October 30. 

TMM Online asked the Commerce Commission whether the deal had already been given the green light. 

"We have not received an application for clearance but we are aware of the transaction," the Commission said on Thursday. 

TMM Online asked NZFSG whether it expects to receive regulatory approval by the end of the month, but the firm did not respond to a request for comment. 

The competition concerns come as larger groups headquartered overseas, such as Astute Financial Management, consolidate the NZ broker market.

Further consolidation is expected due to rising demands under the new financial advisers' regulatory regime. 

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