The entity formerly known as the ASB Community Trust has rejigged its underlying managers, according to a spokesperson for the organisation.
“Following a formal review, we changed arrangements with two global equity managers earlier this year, appointed a new global equity manager, and reallocated some funds across our existing manager line-up,” the spokesperson said.
However, Sue Zimmerman, acting chief executive of the newly-branded Foundation North, declined to name the underlying managers for the $1 billion plus charitable trust – the largest of its kind in Australasia.
“Our fund management arrangements are commercial and in confidence,” Zimmerman said. “Our focus is on meeting our investment returns prudently. In the 2014 year we had a net of fees return of 7.6 per cent on our assets which is ahead of the Trust’s benchmark target return of 6.7 per cent.
“Our return for the 2015 year will be substantially higher.”
The 2014 accounts show the trust’s pooled investments included: $385 million in global equity funds; $244 million in hedge funds, and; $60 million in a diversified inflation hedging fund. As well the trust had a number of separate mandates including: $135 million in NZ bonds; $47 million in global fixed income, and; $23 million in NZ equities.
The ASB Trust replaced Russell Investments with global consultancy firm Cambridge Associates as investment adviser in 2010, the first New Zealand gig for the group that counts, among others, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and several Ivy League university endowment funds as clients.
In October 2014, ASB Bank dropped its sponsorship of the Community Trust. At the time ASB chief, Barbara Chapman said: “.. with our sponsorship agreement due for renewal, this became the catalyst for us to consider our commercial relationship and whether contributing to the ASB Community Trust’s operating costs represented the best and most effective use of our community investment.”
According to its 2014 accounts, the ASB Trust spent about $5.7 million on administration costs and over $1.1 million on investment-related fees.
The loss of ASB support – worth about $2 million annually to the trust – prompted the name change to Foundation North.
However, the Foundation may take on another commercial sponsor, the spokesperson said.
“No decision has been made by trustees on any new corporate partnership but the Foundation is considering this,” she said.