Nikko Asset Management NZ has swept the pool of fund awards after claiming the top prize at last week’s FundSource event.
George Carter, Nikko Asset Management NZ chief, said as both FundSource and Morningstar fund manager of the year, the business was well-positioned for growth in the retail market.
Carter said the research house awards – topped off with its INFINZ bond manager of the year gong – added weight to Nikko’s push into the retail investor space, which this year has expanded into the direct market with the group’s KiwiSaver scheme and soon-to-be launched robo-adviser.
“Clearly this is an exciting time for the entire team at Nikko AM NZ, and we look forward to building on all of those 2018 successes into ongoing gains for Kiwi investors over the coming months and years,” he said in a statement.
Nikko NZ manages over $1 billion of retail money (of about $5.2 billion total) but Carter said it would take some time for firm’s KiwiSaver and complementary robo-advice service to gain traction.
The robo-advice system, which will back into Nikko products, should be live well before the end of this year. Carter said the robo-adviser would be free-to-use and open to all.
He said the tool was designed to “help people make better financial decisions” but it wouldn’t offer full-blown advice.
“It will provide a link to the Financial Markets Authority list of advisers for those who find they need more help,” Carter said.
He said the Nikko robo-advice tool would also develop over time.
“This will be just the first iteration and it will be clear about what it can and can’t do.”
Aside from Nikko, the FundSource awards also anointed Milford Asset Management as KiwiSaver manager of the year and QuayStreet Asset Management (an offshoot of Craigs Investment Partners) as top boutique.
Other category winners included Harbour Asset Management, AMP Capital, Castle Point Funds Management as well as Australian-based firms Spheria Asset Management, Resolution Capital and APN (the latter two both property specialists).
(In other gong-based news last week, Takapuna-based boutique manager, Pathfinder, was named as a ‘communicating for change’ category finalist in the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards – due to be presented in November.)
However, the FundSource awards might also be the last under current owner, the NZX, which confirmed at the event that the research house it bought for $900,000 in 2006 was on the block.
It is understood FundSource’s current qualitative report provider, Research IP, and a trade rag publisher were among the bidders.
The NZ fund research market has been dwindling since a flurry of providers entered the market in the wake of the 2008 Financial Advisers Act. Australian researchers Lonsec and van Eyk both exited NZ – the latter after a disastrous corporate collapse – following brief forays this side of the Tasman.
Morningstar continues to service the NZ fund market, although its key local leader, Chris Douglas, spent his final day with the firm last Friday.
Douglas joins Auckland-based specialist governance firm MyFiduciary this week.
Across the ditch, Morningstar is also set to lose a stalwart executive with the resignation of one-time head of Australia and NZ, Anthony Serhan.
Serhan will end an almost 15-year career with Morningstar later in 2018 as he takes up the head of distribution Australia role with Pendal, the new name for BT Investment Management.
For the last three years he has served as Morningstar managing director research strategy Asia-Pacific after ending a four-year stint as NZ and Australia chief executive.