The country’s fourth-largest KiwiSaver scheme could be among the prize assets up for grabs in a reported impending sale of the AMP NZ business.
Last week The Australian cited sources claiming AMP “could be starting a sales process for its New Zealand wealth management arm imminently” with private equity firms touted as interested parties.
The group’s NZ financial services division covers a broad church of insurance and investment advisers as well as KiwiSaver, unit trust and superannuation funds (including a UK pension transfer option).
While it remains unclear which NZ assets AMP would hock off, all options were on the table, a spokesperson for the firm said last week.
“As confirmed to the market on 8 February, AMP is progressing with a portfolio review of our manage for value businesses including AMP New Zealand,” the spokesperson said. “All alternatives are being considered.”
AMP has links with over 200 financial advisers in NZ via partnership or ownership deals including over 50 authorised financial advisers (AFA) who sit under its fully-owned AdviceFirst brand. AdviceFirst absorbed the long-standing AMP-owned Spicers investment advisory group last October.
As well as the $5 billion plus KiwiSaver scheme, AMP manages over $3.2 billion via its NZ Retirement Trust. Despite its still-substantial funds under management the AMP KiwiSaver scheme is one of the few to see net membership declines – losing over 14,000 over the last two years. Last year Wesptac replaced AMP as the country’s fourth-largest KiwiSaver scheme
In an investor presentation coinciding with the publication of the ASX-listed firm’s annual report last month, CEO Craig Meller, ear-marked three ‘manage for value’ business units: NZ financial services; life insurance; and, ‘mature’ (mostly closed) life products.
Both Challenger and AIA have been rumoured as potential buyers of the AMP life insurance business. Last year ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia both offloaded their life insurance arms to Zurich and AIA, respectively.
The February release classifies AMP Bank, Australian Wealth Management (advice and investment platforms), and AMP Capital under the ‘invest to grow’ label. Global investment management, offshore partnerships (such as current deals with China Life and Mitsuibishi UFJ Financial Group), and international advice and “innovative” operating systems, would accelerate further growth, AMP says in the note.
AMP says the fate of its ‘manage for value’ would be announced “at or before” the group’s AGM in May