The Westpac-owned funds management group BT NZ has revamped its $1.6 billion international fixed interest manager line-up dropping all but one of the incumbents while opting for a local-domiciled mandate structure.
According to fund documents lodged last week on Disclose, the BT-managed funds – including the Westpac KiwiSaver and ‘active series’ products – now gain exposure to global fixed income via a BT NZ wholesale fund with three underlying managers: BlueBay Asset Management; Colchester Global Investors; and, Wellington Management Company.
Previously, the BT NZ funds accessed four international fixed interest managers – Standish Mellon, Kapstream, BT Investment Management (Australia), and Wellington – through a fund-of-funds vehicle controlled by Westpac-owned subsidiary, Advance Asset Management.
Newcomers to the BT NZ portfolio, BlueBay and Colchester, both feature in the Russell Investments international fixed interest manager suite.
Matthew Goldsack, BT NZ head of investment strategy, said: “The specialist underlying manager mandates have been designed with a wide degree of allocation flexibility to enable them to take advantage of opportunities in the fixed interest universe and to protect capital in times of market stress.”
As well as rebooting the global fixed structure and manager line-up, BT NZ has also adopted a new bespoke benchmark for the asset class constructed by Bloomberg Barclays.
The Westpac-owned manager previously used the traditional Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate index as its international fixed interest baseline metric.
Goldsack said the new benchmark was built to “protect the portfolio from the negative impact of steepening yield curves”.
In addition to the fixed income changes, BT NZ has hired Principal Global Investors as a new international listed property manager. The Iowa-headquartered global asset manager joins local firm, Salt Asset Management, on listed property duties for BT NZ with the latter focusing on Australasian securities.
Principal, which owned BT from 1999 until it sold the funds business to Westpac in 2002, “has significant experience in the management of both property securities portfolios and physical property markets”, the Disclose document says.
In June BT NZ completed an overhaul of its global equities suite, reducing the manager count from seven to five under direct mandates controlled by a new locally-registered investment vehicle.
Following the latest round of changes all BT NZ funds are now channeled via NZ-domiciled wholesale funds.