Our story began with a group of prominent Dunedin businessmen looking to realise the concept of a trustee company in New Zealand. At the time, they’d seen similar institutions being formed in Australia.
Until this point, people wanting a will or trust deed, approached business savvy friends and acquaintances to act as trustees. However, Dunedin and the Otago province was experiencing rapid growth due to the gold rush, which meant there was little time to attend to such matters.
A year later in 1882, Trustees Executors grew into its role further when a private Act of Parliament enabled us to act as a statutory trust company. This meant that we could begin to directly manage client trusts.
Here’s an extract from that Act which is as relevant today as the day it was passed:
"Whereas from the uncertainty of human life great difficulty often arises in securing the services of suitable persons for the office of trustee (and) executor... In order to secure the more certain discharge the duties of such offices a company has been formed... to remove much of the uncertainty and insecurity which attends he appointment of private individuals..."
During our time in business in the years that followed, we have weathered with our clients, storms that have touched all parts of the world — Two World Wars, The Great Depression, The Global Financial Crisis, multiple recessions and most recently, the challenges of COVID-19.
Yet by maintaining a focus on innovation and growth, and serving Kiwis and Kiwi institutions, we have increased our service offering over the past century and a half. Today we are better for it.
We established our Corporate Trustee Services division in 1972. Today, we are a market leader for supervisor and trustee services of corporate financial market participants and have one of the largest professional teams in the business.
For many years, Trustees Executors was listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange and operated under the TOWER Trust branding in 1999 for a brief period.
In 2003, we were acquired by another longstanding institution with ties to New Zealand dating back to the 1840’s, the Sterling Grace Corporation. This resulted in our renaming of the company to reflect our original name, “Trustees Executors.”
Our company’s leaders have always understood that the work of innovating is inherently never over—today’s innovation is tomorrow’s status quo.
Ryan Bessemer was appointed as CEO of Trustees Executors in 2018 after 6 years as COO at Equity Trustees—one of Australia’s largest independent trustee companies. Since then he has focused on accelerating our digital transformation, and further enhancing our service offering by taking advantage of new technologies
Moving forward and giving back
Alongside our ongoing digital transformation, in 2021 we launched the Trustees Executors Charitable Foundation, to help Kiwis realise their own charitable visions of giving back to their communities.
Growing up alongside the country itself, we are keenly aware of how the prosperity and wellbeing of our community relate to our own business success. Trustees Executors, and any business, exists as a part of a greater community
Celebrating a significant milestone
We celebrated 140-years of proud and successful history on 8 July 2021. Our long history has played an important role in shaping our future and throughout this shared journey we are proud to have supported and sustained our clients and our people. Not only are we still here — we're getting stronger.
Today, we serve over 800,000 client accounts, holding billions of dollars worth of funds. This success is a representation of our commitment to our community, built on the foundation of our core values—earning trust, building strong relationships, and driving innovation.
Trustees Executors Limited was established in 1881 and is New Zealand’s first Trustee Company.
We provide a full range of financial and trust solutions to individuals, families and the corporate sector, including estate planning, trustee and investment advisory services.
We are a Licensed Financial Markets Supervisor and a leading provider of specialist Corporate Trustee and back-office fund administration services to some of New Zealand’s largest financial institutions, banks and fund managers.
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