What is a Corporate Trustee?

A Corporate Trustee is an independent supervisor of...

  • managed funds - such as KiwiSaver schemes, superannuation schemes and unit trusts
  • retirement villages
  • debt securities
  • custodial services
  • securitisation of assets.

What does a Corporate Trustee do?

A Corporate Trustee's role is to act in the interests of investors by being an independent supervisor of the security and a custodian of assets. The prime responsibility is that of a prudential supervisor, and not a hands-on manager. 

Issuers of securities to members of the public are bound by a trust deed and require a trustee by law. The trust deed sets out the 'rules' for the investment. The trustee's role includes to...

  • represent the collective interests of investors
  • ensure the company offering the investment complies with the trust deed
  • hold assets in trust separate from the scheme manager (in some cases).

Choosing a Trustee

Choosing the right trustee is a key decision and can make the difference between things running smoothly, and not.

If a Trustee is not required by law, there are many good reasons to appoint one anyway. A good Trustee can add value and may save you time and money.

When you choose a trustee you may wish to consider their...

  • Reputation - a trustee who has a good track record and credibility will provide your venture with an assurance of quality.
  • Experience - a trustee should have a wide range of experience as this will enable it to identify and help avoid issues, and to offer innovative solutions for your project.
  • Network - a trustee who can draw on wider resources is likely to be able to address all the needs of your project.
  • Approach - a trustee needs to be flexible, consultative and innovative and its approach should suit the way you do business.
  • Pragmatism - a trustee should have the experience and pragmatism to balance legal duties with commercial realism.

What about costs?

When you are comparing proposals consider the value provided. The way a trustee works can complement your business and enhance your offering - or create delays and frustrations.