Financial Services: Personal service wins plaudits

Peter Hawes - Milford Tauranga

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“Our clients tell us they really appreciate our personal service. That’s why we have the Milford Tauranga office, because we know our clients want to deal with advisers who know them, who know the area and who are part of the community – a community with its own challenges and its own unique relationships.”

That’s the message from Milford’s Bay of Plenty lead adviser Peter Hawes.

“For some, that personal contact advantage can be as simple as our team here helping a client fill out the occasional obligatory paper form.

“For others in our Private Wealth service, it’s the personal adviser conversations,” says Peter. “But it’s not just the personal service,” he says with a smile: “The after-fee returns are important to clients too of course.”

The Milford KiwiSaver Plan for example has been a solid choice for investors with pleasing comparative after-fee return levels for clients. “Our clients are looking for optimum return, after fees, from the funds they are invested in; Milford has a proven track record of providing them,” says Peter.


Milford was formed in 2003 by an experienced group of individuals who recognised the need for an investment company to provide New Zealanders a world-class investment partner they could trust.

Milford currently has more than $16 billion of funds under management.

The company’s founding principles include an active management investment philosophy, employees investing alongside clients and long-term staff ownership.

The company has regional offices throughout the country.

Rapid expansion in the Bay of Plenty region in recent years led to the opening of Milford’s Tauranga office in 2021.

Peter Hawes and Milford Tauranga team

Peter joined Milford in 2021 bringing more than 30 years’ experience in financial services. He has an extensive knowledge of investment management in NZ. He specialises in providing advice to high-net-worth individuals, families, and trustees of family trusts.

Peter says that while he probably spends about 70 percent of his time in the office, he enjoys the 30 percent he spends out on the road with clients – those clients are spread from Gisborne in the south to Waihi Beach in the north.

The private wealth clients range from long-term Bay of Plenty residents to those who have recently chosen to move or retire to the Bay.

His colleague, adviser Donna Stewart, who joined the team in 2021, has spent 24 years in the financial services industry in New Zealand and Australia and brings a wealth of experience in the farming and agriculture sector.

The team is very well supported by the most recent member, associate Kim Bell. Kim also has vast experience and focuses on delivering exceptional client service.

Walking the talk

“When it comes to community and looking after our client’s interests, we walk the talk,” says Peter.

Milford’s Tauranga team members support numerous local community initiatives and business groups – Donna is involved in businesswomen’s networking and the Tauranga Business Chamber and Peter with professional accounting and legal partnerships and mentoring programs. The team has a strong community ethos.

As well as supporting local charities, the Milford Foundation, set up by Milford in 2020, has also recently launched two tertiary scholarships for Bay of Plenty school leavers.

According to Peter, this is a way for the Milford Foundation to offer significant opportunities to young people who may not have otherwise been able to pursue tertiary study.

“We hope this may help change lives, and in these difficult times we think that’s incredibly important.”

2022: a year of challenges

Peter admits 2022 has been a challenging year for everyone.

“Our key focus in 2022 has been to keep in touch with our clients and to keep them well informed. We aim to keep our investors well-informed every step of the way. This is particularly pertinent in tough times, which are part of investing. Investing in markets is rewarding over the long-term though the experience isn’t without highs and lows.

“Milford are active fund managers, and we always aim to work with our clients on setting financial goals and providing sound advice to help achieve them.”

The digital advice tools on the Milford website are free and available to everyone wanting to invest with Milford.

Personal wealth clients can tailor their contact with the team to what they feel suits them best.

“While markets and returns have been challenging in 2022, my message has remained unchanged throughout: Typically markets rebound, so be patient.”

2023: Stay informed and be patient

With current inflation volatility, rising interest rates, economic uncertainties and international political turmoil, we risk becoming too focused on the short-term impacts of these factors. To a degree, markets are usually forward looking and will commonly also reflect longer-term expectations.

“There may be continued pressures in 2023 – taking a long-range view may be useful.

His advice for the year ahead: stay well-informed and take sound advice from trusted advisers.

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