There with you through all of life’s key investments
Where they began
KeyInvest evolved from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF SA), which has a history that dates back to 1878. IOOF SA began as a community-based organisation which would be the equivalent of today’s modern social safety net. At a time when government social welfare did not exist, IOOF SA was there. “It consisted of groups of people throughout the community who came together to look after each other, friends, family, colleagues, and kids,” says James McGill, the General Manager of Business Services at KeyInvest. At that time the life expectancy was relatively low in comparison to today, so people often left behind younger children. The community Order would then step in to help take care of them. These groups, whose heritage can be traced back to Europe several hundred years ago, went on to spread throughout the world including Australia and eventually a chapter began in South Australia. “With the exception of the listed company based in Victoria, most of these chapters have either disappeared or evolved into something else,” says James. In 2006, the chairman and (then IOOF SA) KeyInvest board agreed a more aggressive growth path for the future. “If you want to grow a business and compete, you can’t have the same name as another, being the Victorian based business, so this was the reason behind our brand change in 2007,” says James. As such, the company became KeyInvest.
The banner which KeyInvest operates under is “life’s key investments.” KeyInvest works to help their customers through major life events, such as buying a first home or retirement. They focus on three major pillars which are lending services, investment bonds and retirement living. With a genuine and responsive team, KeyInvest is able to help their clients through any major milestone. None of the work KeyInvest does is based on short term investments; rather they are all long term. Throughout the last 130 years they have been involved in many different industries including heath funds, financial planning, stock broking, and credit unions.
KeyInvest offers both Life Events bonds and also Funeral Bonds. Life Events bonds are designed to help clients plan and save for their financial goals. These goals vary from person to person but for many it is a matter of saving for their children’s education or home deposits or as part of the estate planning or superannuation process. They are a, tax effective, long term investment. In addition to this, KeyInvest offers capital guaranteed Funeral Bonds. Whilst the topic of death remains relatively unpopular, more people are realising the benefits of planning for the funeral as part of the estate planning process and so they are growing in popularity. Funerals are increasingly costly and coming up with thousands of dollars unexpectedly can be a substantial burden on families. Therefore the funeral bond gives people both security and peace of mind that their loved ones are taken care of after they pass.
KeyInvest offers a retirement living approach to their clients which allows them both independence but also peace of mind. Their retirement villages offer beautifully maintained, spacious grounds and private, independent living homes. “People are selling their homes and moving to our retirement villages to enjoy the community feeling whilst maintaining their own space. The goal for the majority of retirees is to downsize and still have money left over to enjoy life. Retirees are generally looking to relocate within their existing neighbourhoods with less responsibility in terms of maintaining a home. They are not looking for a lower quality home. Our objective is to make sure we offer a mix of locations and home sizes and styles to meet the different needs of the market,” says James.
Genuine, responsive, and successful
With a commitment to their clients, KeyInvest does their best to make sure their clients’ financial needs are met. Their values stem from their longstanding history as an organisation. “We are a for-profit business but we do keep an eye on our heritage and our past. I think it helps to guide the kind of business we want to be and the areas that we compete in and the products and services we offer. We always make sure we have that value judgement. We respect the history and the values of the past,” says James.
Sticking to what they know
With just over 40 full time employees, KeyInvest is content with where they are as a business, for now. Over the years they have developed many relationships with suppliers, builders, and architects whom they work very closely with. Including the lending services team who are primarily contractors, they have over 100 people working for them across Australia at the current time. While they are looking to expand further, they don’t intend to deviate from the strategic direction they are currently on. “We want to continue to grow the customer base that we already have while staying within our three major pillars,” says James. “We have other opportunities that we’re considering in the investment stage, different options but still long term.”