Finance Minister Bill English is due to cut the ribbon on Harbour Asset Management’s new office today in Wellington.
According to Harbour chief, Andrew Bascand, English also performed the duty six years ago when the boutique manager first opened its doors.
“We thought it would be good to bring him back in an informal capacity to do it again,” he said.
Harbour would stay in the same Featherston Street building, but Bascand said the new premises – four levels up from its current 12th floor abode – offered double the space as well as upgraded technology and improved security.
“We’ve grown out of the space,” he said. “And we need to anticipate future growth.
From a standing start in 2010 with five employees, Harbour has grown to manage some $2.25 billion in multiple asset classes and now employs 15 staff across three locations.
The firm hired two staff last year with a further two hires on the cards for this quarter – one middle office position and another client services role.
Bascand said while the core investment business did not require significant staff increases as funds under management increased, the ancillary administration and “client-facing” functions were “not quite as scalable”.
Harbour now has about 85 wholesale clients on its books with further growth looming in the philanthropic, charitable trust, family office and Maori investment areas.
The manager already has a significant presence in the KiwiSaver market as an underlying manager for several schemes.
“We’re probably full up in that market for now,” he said.
According to Bascand, the manager closed some of its wholesale investment “growth service” last August, but expected further interest in its fixed income offering and recently-launched income fund.
Last year Harbour also launched wholesale and retail versions of a T Rowe Price-managed global equity fund.
Bascand said at least 50 people were expected to attend the new office opening this Monday.
“When we opened the first office only six staff, three clients and Bill English showed up,” he said.
Harbour emerged out of the remnants of the Alliance Bernstein business after the global fund manager exited New Zealand late in 2009. The manager is majority-owned by First NZ Capital.