Fisher Funds is looking to consolidate its registry functions with dual incumbents Mercer and Trustees Executors (TE) vying for the honour.
Fisher general manager, Glenn Ashwell, said the firm is in the early stages of a due diligence process to select a single registry provider.
“At the moment we’re only looking to consolidate the registry services,” Ashwell said. “And we’ve just gone out to Mercer and Trustees Executors – they’re the only real options for a business of our scale.”
According to the June 2015 FundSource market share report, Fisher has about $6.6 billion under management split between a range of wholesale and retail products. The group has about 260,000 clients, Ashwell said.
While TE supplies registry to most Fisher funds, Mercer provides the service to the products the group acquired as part of its $79 million purchase of Tower Investments in 2013.
The anomaly is particularly visible in the firm’s two KiwiSaver schemes where Mercer is registry provider for the $1.4 billion Fisher Two (ex Tower) fund while TE fills that function in the $1.2 billion Fisher scheme.
“We’re [consolidating registry] to improve the service offering to our clients,” Ashwell said.
For example, he said some clients who have investments in both Fisher and former Tower products currently have to log in to two different systems to view their accounts.
“Clients need to be able to view their investments in one place,” Ashwell said.
Both Mercer and TE recently switched their underlying technology to the new Bravura system, Sonata, which he said should ease client transition processes.
“We want any transition to go smoothly,” Ashwell said. “Obviously, when we do rationalise down to one provider it will make one of them unhappy – but we don’t want that to affect the transition.”
For the time-being he said Fisher would leave other back-office services such as custody, unit pricing and fund accounting split among various providers including TE, Mercer, Citi and State Street.
“We will probably think about rationalising [other back-office services] at some point,” Ashwell said. “But as these are not client-facing services there’s no urgency to do that.”
He said the Fisher would finalise its sole registry supplier within “a couple of months”.