Modern Slavery Statement


This statement is produced to provide interested stakeholders with information about Trustees Executors Limited (TEL) and its supply chain for the purpose of understanding the potential exposure to modern slavery risk.  

Modern slavery includes situations where coercion, threats or deception is used to exploit victims and undermine their freedom.  This includes practices such as:

  • Human trafficking
  • Slavery
  • Servitude
  • Forced labour
  • Debt bondage
  • Forced marriage
  • Extreme forms of child labour.

TEL strongly supports global initiatives to eliminate modern slavery practices.  As part of this support, TEL will assess and monitor the risks within its supply chains. 

About TEL and its supply chains


TEL is a privately owned New Zealand company that was founded in Dunedin in 1881. Originally named The Trustees, Executors, and Agency Company of New Zealand (Limited) it was incorporated under the Companies Act 1860 on 6 July 1881 and was re-registered to become a company under the Companies Act 1993 on 30 June 1997.

Its ultimate holding company is Sterling Grace (NZ) Limited.  The company wholly owns a number of nominee companies, which it uses to hold client money in a fiduciary capacity.   

The business employs approximately 200 staff based in New Zealand with a small number also located in Australia.  


TEL is a trustee company under the Trustee Companies Act 1967 allowing it to be appointed to act as trustee, hold other fiduciary positions and to establish Group Investment Funds. The Trustees Executors Limited Act 2002 also provides the company with powers in relation to acting as an executor.  Additionally, the company holds licences under the Financial Markets Supervisors Act 2011 and Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013.  All licences are issued by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).

Current licences held are:

  • Corporate Independent Trustee Licence
  • Discretionary Investment Management Services Licence
  • Supervisors Licence
  • Transitional Financial Advice Provider Licence

Material operations include:

  • Acting as a trustee of family or charitable trusts
  • Drafting wills and acting as an executor of deceased estates
  • Providing financial advice
  • Managing funds on behalf of clients
  • Acting as a supervisor and trustee of registered managed investment schemes and debt offers and as a statutory supervisor of retirement village operators
  • Providing custody and investment accounting services to managed investment schemes and wholesale clients
  • Providing registry services in relation to managed investment schemes.

Supply chains

TEL suppliers are primarily professional service companies based in New Zealand and Australia.  Suppliers include global custodians, administration software providers, IT product and service providers, legal advisers, auditors, consultants, sharebrokers, recruitment consultants, cloud providers, commercial cleaners, banks, hotels, airlines, mail-house and storage providers.

Modern slavery risks in Trustees Executors’ operations and supply chains

TEL has assessed the risk of modern slavery as low within its business and immediate suppliers.  Consideration has been given to the sector and industry, products and services, types of investments made, and geographic risks such as the rule of law and governance.  Nonetheless, TEL is aware of the harm modern slavery presents, and that these risks can exist, knowingly or unknowingly further along the supply chain or within that of its clients. 

TEL’s clients

Corporate Trustee Services, Portfolio Services, Member & Investor Services

As a trustee and/or custodian of managed investment schemes, TEL will hold assets on behalf of KiwiSaver, superannuation and other pooled scheme investors.  Investment managers that manage these schemes create diversified investment portfolios, meaning some funds hold positions in companies that approximate the global market.  Where TEL monitors these managers in a supervisory capacity, TEL seeks to understand if environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are considered when making investment decisions.

TEL also provides registry services to clients that operate managed investment schemes.  Clients include investment management companies, many of which are owned by New Zealand or overseas banks.

Private Wealth

TEL’s Private Wealth services are provided to individuals, trusts and charities across New Zealand. Some of these services include creating globally diversified investment portfolios.  TEL will consider governance and reputational factors when making direct investments.  Before directing investments to an external manager or fund, TEL reviews the investment process, any Socially Responsible Investing Policy, as well as the underlying holdings and investments.  This is frequently assessed and monitored.

Actions taken to assess and address modern slavery risks

TEL will assess and address modern slavery risk according to the risk factors presented. Assessment criteria is made with consideration to whether TEL may cause, contribute to, or may be directly linked to modern slavery risks.  

In order to assess and address modern slavery risks, TEL will where appropriate:

  • obtain information on suppliers and sub-suppliers, including by way of questionnaire
  • undertake risk assessments on suppliers in regard to modern slavery risk
  • update supplier contractual terms to address modern slavery risks
  • obtain commitment to adhere to a supplier code of conduct
  • provide staff training on modern slavery risks
  • Monitor and treat reported incidents.

Where a supplier is unwilling to engage with TEL in order for it to assess its exposure to modern slavery risks, TEL may choose to ultimately cease the supplier relationship.

Assessing actions taken

TEL will periodically assess the supplier screening approaches undertaken through internal audits, including by way of control effectiveness testing.  This will be reported to the company’s Board or the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee.