Adam Fenech of Kina Securities in PNG says “Australians could learn a thing or two from the way we are doing things up here”. Photo: Vanessa ‘Ness’ Kerton Read more: Adam Fenech of Kina Securities in PNG says “Australians could learn a thing or two from the way we are doing things up here”. Photo: Vanessa ‘Ness’ Kerton

Papua New Guinea’s biggest wealth manager, Kina Securities, has enjoyed a strong take-up of its recently launched mobile app for banking and superannuation customers. Now it is courting major Australian super funds.

“The Australians could learn a thing or two from the way we are doing things up here,” Kina’s head of investment and superannuation services Adam Fenech said. Patchy penetration of desktop internet and a boom in smartphone coverage combined to make launching the app an urgent priority for Kina, he said. Since the launch last month, it has been downloaded 30,000 times.

Kina listed on the Australian Securities Exchange on July 30 in a deal that raised $77 million to finance the purchase of the PNG arm of Malaysian bank Maybank. The company is valued at $191.6 million.

Only about 10 per cent of the PNG population has reliable access to desktop internet but it is estimated up to 80 per cent of the population have a mobile phone with smartphone handsets quickly becoming the norm as telecommunications providers offer attractive data packages.


Kina invested around 1 million kina ($476,000) in the product and is confident it will pay for itself in a matter of months.

The software powering the app was developed by Sydney based administration company Financial Synergy, which services some of Australia’s biggest superannuation managers including ING Direct, QSuper, and Equity Trustees. Kina, which has almost 50 per cent market share of the super fund administration market in PNG, is the first to roll the technology out.

Globally companies are struggling to respond to consumer demand for mobile services. Mr Fenech recently visited Sydney and Melbourne where he pitched to local super funds that they should consider adopting the app and outsourcing some of their administration to Kina.

“Australian super funds are under increasing pressure to control their costs and bring down fees, which means like many companies they are looking at outsourcing work offshore,” he said.

“Back office corporate functions are commonly sent to cheaper countries, such as India and the Philippines, but to date few Australian businesses have outsourced to the country’s closest neighbour”.

Outsourcing to PNG can provide comparable cost savings to a country like India, but offers a much better cultural fit, Mr Fenech said. “Speaking to a Papua New Guinean on the phone it is difficult to tell that you are not speaking to someone in Australia … people follow the NRL and AFL,” he said.

“PNG’s compulsory super system is modelled on Australia’s so there are people with the right skills.”

All staff in the 30 year old firm’s wealth division are accredited by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia. Mr Fenech is an Australian who has been based in Port Moresby with Kina for five years. Prior to that he was a director of business advisory services for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sydney.

Kina shares, which came on at a premium and traded as high as $1.42 in the weeks following the listing, were last priced at $1.17, a 17 per cent premium to the offer price.
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Source: PNG’s Kina Securities wants to show Australian super funds how to get appy