Salt Funds Management has won the reasonably-coveted $600 million AMP Capital New Zealand equities mandate.
Following the deal, Salt, spun out of BT Funds Management in 2013, will have funds under management of about $1.3 billion.
While the AMP mandate is one of, if not the, biggest New Zealand equities contract put to market, it is understood the tight risk constraints and sharp pricing had put some managers off bidding.
In a statement, George Carter, AMP Capital head of distribution, said: “Being a core manager, Salt is an extremely good fit for AMP Capital and our clients. Salt has a proven investment team with extensive experience in managing the types of portfolios we offered for tender as well as having a truly integrated approach to responsible investing. We look forward to working with Salt to deliver on our portfolios’ investment objectives and continuing to provide our clients with an excellent New Zealand equity investment capability.”
AMP Capital has been searching for a replacement NZ shares manager after sacking its in-house local shares team, headed by Guy Eliffe, last December.
The moved followed months of staff instability at the marquee funds management house with senior money managers John Phipps, Douglas Lau and John Middleton exiting AMP Capital over the last year or so.
Just before dissolving its in-house NZ equities team, AMP managed about $1 billion in local shares.
However, in November 2014 AMP lost a $260 million local equities New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZS) mandate, prompting the group to review its operations.
As at December 1 last year, AMP Capital reported collective funds under management of about $670 million in its three main NZ equity products: the NZ Shares Fund; the Strategic NZ Shares Fund, and; the Responsible Investment Leaders NZ Shares Fund.
While it is understood AMP lost a handful of other NZ equity mandates during the upheaval, Salt should pick up between $5-600 million before the dust settles on March 31 – the date set for transition earlier this year.
In the interim AMP Capital’s Australian equities operation, headed by Michael Price, has been managing the New Zealand shares portfolio.
Salt, which still invests the bulk of NZ equities for BT/Westpac, is headed by Paul Harrison and Matthew Goodson.