Former NZ deputy PM joins board of Oz ROPS provider Lifetime

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Sir Michael Cullen, former New Zealand deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Attorney-General and recent chairman of New Zealand Post has joined the board of the Lifetime Asset Management. 

Lifetime, developed and manage the Garrison Bridge Superannuation Scheme, a ROPS scheme offered to Australian residents under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition agreement and released the product, as reported, last year. The company said in a statement, announcing the appointment, that it was adding Cullen to its ranks as it looks to “ramp up” its Australian operations to take advantage of the lack of ROPS in the region.

Ralph Stewart, chief executive of Lifetime said welcome Cullen to the board citing his “extensive knowledge and commercial experience that will accelerate our growth and assist the group to reach our full potential”.

“We see huge opportunity in the Australian market with our Garrison Bridge scheme, launched late last year to meet growing demand from investors with UK pension savings,” said Stewart.

HM Revenue and Customs, the UK authorities tasked with enforcing the regulations for qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes (QROPS or ROPs as HMRC now prefers to refer to the schemes as) made a significant cull to the list of receiving schemes in 2015.

As a result, expats in Australian saw a previous list of 1,600 schemes reduced to just one. Since that time, a growing number of individual self managed ‘super’ funds have registered to receive pension transfers, however, Lifetime says, such a solution is mainly focused on the over age 55 sector.

Australian focus

“Combined with our expertise in the ROPS space, and the new flexi access rules that are expected to be implemented in April 2017, we expect to ramp up our Australian operations. Adding Sir Michael Cullen to our board will help us do just that” said Stewart.

Lifetime Asset Management Ltd is part of the Retirement Income Group Ltd which was originally established in 2013 by former AXA and ACC CEO Ralph Stewart. The Group is a private company funded by the founders and private and professional investors from Australia and New Zealand.

The Garrison Bridge Superannuation Scheme is a New Zealand Superannuation Scheme with dual registration (NZ and Australia). It is open to investors and offered under Mutual Recognition Scheme for issuers who offered products in both countries. The Garrison Bridge scheme adheres to the requirements set by HMRC to be a ROPS.

The trans-Tasman mutual recognition scheme allows an issuer in Australia or New Zealand to offer certain financial products in both countries using one disclosure document prepared under regulation in its home country. Issuers who wish to operate under the scheme will be able to comply with minimal entry and ongoing requirements agreed to between the two countries and prescribed in each country’s law. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the New Zealand Companies Office (NZCO) and the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority (FMA) have established arrangements for cooperation and information sharing between the authorities in administering the mutual recognition scheme.