BNZ continued its climb up the KiwiSaver charts, racking up the fastest proportional gain over the December quarter, according to Australian research house Plan for Life.
The Plan for Life figures show the BNZ scheme (which outsources funds management to Russell Investments) grew by 11.4 per cent over the closing three months of 2015 with only Milford Asset Management also recording double-digit growth during the same period.
While BNZ and Milford achieved the feat from a relatively low base (of $661 million and $473 million, respectively, as at September 30 last year), in nominal terms the two KiwiSaver products piled on more dollars than the larger Grosvenor and Mercer schemes over the quarter.
BNZ, the last of the major banks to join the KiwiSaver comp, added $75 million over the final quarter of 2015 with Milford’s $50 million increase (or 10.7 per cent) pushing the home-grown manager past the $500 million mark.
The $1.3 billion Mercer scheme grew by $48 million (or 3.7 per cent) during the December quarter, recording the lowest proportional growth of the top 10 providers. Meanwhile, the $977 million Grosvenor KiwiSaver added $42 million over the same period.
Anthony Quirk, Milford managing director, said breaking through the $500 million mark represented a significant milestone for the Auckland-based firm.
Quirk said the Milford scheme growth was due to a mixture of new members coming on board and solid investment performance over 2015.
In the nine months to December 31 last year, Milford grew the scheme’s net membership by about 650, the majority transferring from other providers.
Quirk said Milford’s average member balance of almost $40,000 was also more than three-times the wider KiwiSaver average.
“We target high-net worth investors,” he said, “and transfers from other schemes haven’t lowered the average member balance.”
Quirk said the scheme’s funds under management (FUM) growth was boosted by the top-ranking performance of the New Zealand share market in 2015, which returned 13.6 per cent over the calendar year – the best developed country result.
“We’ve been overweight this part of the world,” he said. “[Despite the current volatility] we continue to think Australasia is the place to be – and within that we prefer New Zealand over Australia.”
At the top of the table, ANZ recorded another impressive result over the December quarter with its triplet KiwiSaver schemes collectively growing almost 6 per cent taking total FUM to a shade under $8 billion.
Other top five KiwiSaver providers also reported respectable growth over the period, ranging from 4.4 per cent for AMP to Fisher Funds’ 5.3 per cent. AMP’s result marked a significant turnaround compared to the previous quarter where it grew by 0.8 per cent, according to Plan for Life figures.
Just outside the top five, the Kiwibank-owned Kiwi Wealth scheme grew FUM by 4.9 per cent to finish the quarter on more than $2.45 billion.