Forsyth Barr has amalgamated its KiwiSaver and funds management units under a single banner, introducing a raft of other changes in the process.
As at February 27 this year the two businesses merged to form Forsyth Barr Investment Management (FBIM), which is responsible for the group’s six pooled unit trusts.
Last year, the firm shut its Local Authority Investments product.
Following the merger, Trustees Executors (TE) replaced Corporate Trust as trustee for the Forsyth Barr funds – a role it was already performing for the firm’s KiwiSaver scheme.
Neil Paviour-Smith, Forsyth Barr head, said the amalgamation was sparked by the new managed investment scheme (MIS) licensing process.
“From a licensing perspective it’s more efficient [to have one entity],” Paviour-Smith said.
He said while the group’s KiwiSaver scheme is the largest investor in the underlying Forsyth Barr funds, “there are other investors too”.
According to Forsyth Barr funds March 2014 accounts, the six unit trusts managed just under $41 million, of which over 75 per cent ($31.4 million) related to investments by the related KiwiSaver scheme.
“The funds will grow over time,” Paviour-Smith said. “They provide a simple, low-cost exposure to asset classes, particularly for those with relatively small amounts of money to invest.”
The amalgamation has also seen Andrew Bowley, Nick Hegan and Shanta McPherson appointed to the FBIM board while Sir Eion Edgar, Shane Edmond, Michael Sidey and Paul Andre van Konigsveld depart from predecessor boards. Paviour-Smith remains as director.
Under the new FBIM structure, Craig Alexander has been named head of funds management with Kevin Stirrat in charge of investment strategy. The management team also includes Rob Mercer, head of private wealth research, and former First NZ Capital portfolio manager, Malcolm Davie, who takes on a similar role at FBIM.
Forsyth Barr also opened up a new trading business in Hong Kong this month, employing nine staff.
In a statement, Paviour-Smith said the Asian-based operation had the “potential not only for this business to grow in its own right in the region, but… to help our New Zealand based advisors assist clients with investments in the Asian region”.
Last month rival Kiwi brokers, Craigs Investment Partners, also expanded offshore, taking a 40 per cent stake in Australian firm Wilson HTM Securities.
“It’s good to see two large, established New Zealand investment firms doing something overseas,” Paviour-Smith said. “In ways that don’t put their core businesses at risk.”
A 2013 study found Craigs was New Zealand’s largest broking firm with 121 Authorised Financial Advisers (AFA) under its brand. Runner-up, Forsyth Barr reported 100 AFAs.