Milford Asset Management grew its retail funds business by almost 45 per cent during the 2019 calendar year, according to just-released Plan for Life data (PFL).
While funds under management (FUM) have likely slipped since the December 31 reporting date, Milford hit close to $8.3 billion by the end of the period after starting the year with $5.7 billion in the kitty.
The 44.5 per cent annual growth-rate put Milford ahead of smaller fast-expanding managers, BNZ and Booster, which were up a respective 39.2 per cent and 33.8 per cent over the year.
Milford also led the December quarter FUM race, adding some 9.4 per cent to assets under management compared to 6.5 per cent for BNZ, the second-fastest grower in the PFL bunch.
Over the 12-month period the Auckland-based boutique carved out an extraordinary 1.2 per cent extra in market share in a period where the next-highest gain was just 0.4 per cent (Fisher Funds).
All of the top four managers shed retail fund market share in 2019 led by AMP (down 1 per cent to finish at 10.5 per cent) and BT/Westpac, which shrank from 12.7 per cent at December 31, 2018 to 11.9 per cent 12 months later.
ANZ, still by far the largest retail manager, dropped market share from 26.2 per cent to 25.5 per cent during the year as second-placed ASB retreated slightly from 15.1 per cent end the period on 14.8 per cent.
Market share either rose or fell only a little for the remaining other named top 10 managers in the PFL list. However, the ‘other’ manager category represented 9.4 per cent of total retail FUM as at December 31 compared to 8.5 per cent the prior year.
In fact, the ‘others’ reported one of the fastest annual growth-rates (32.2 per cent) and second-largest quarterly gain (7.2 per cent), most likely driven by popular local players Simplicity and Generate. The two Auckland boutiques have seen hyperbolic growth in their respective KiwiSaver schemes over the past few years with both growing to over $1 billion.
AMP continued its miserable run last year to eke out annual FUM growth of 9.5 per cent over 2019 (the only manager not to hit double figures) and just 0.9 per cent in the quarter, compared to respective averages of 20 per cent and 3.2 per cent.
“Gross Inflows for 2019 of NZ$30.8bn climbed 13.6% while there was the usual pause in reported Inflow growth during the December quarter which saw them fall 9.0% due to KiwiSaver seasonality factors,” the PFL report says. “Year on year Simplicity, Generate, Milford, Fisher and BNZ posted well above average Inflow growth rates while on the other hand those reported by BT, AMP and Kiwi Wealth were all fairly flat.”
Overall, the NZ retail funds market reached almost $115 billion by the 2019 year-end, pushed along by the quasi-compulsory KiwiSaver regime (up 26.4 per cent to over $66.2 billion) and the unit trust market, which grew about 13 per cent over the period to above $41.3 billion.
Based in Melbourne, the PFL actuarial consulting and research firm was founded in 1988 by Simon Solomon while Rael Solomon is now regional managing director.