The KiwiSaver sector verged on $80 billion at the end of last year, buoyed by bumper markets and regular drip-feed flows from members, data from research house Plan for Life (PFL) reveals.
But while the total KiwiSaver market was up 7.6 per cent to more than $79 billion for the quarter only one of the top seven largest providers, Fisher Funds, recorded an above-average growth-rate.
Fisher, which replaced AMP as the fourth-biggest KiwiSaver provider during the three-month period, saw funds under management (FUM) soar by 8 per cent to reach almost $6.5 billion by 2020 year-end. The result saw the Takapuna-based boutique draw about $70 million ahead of AMP in KiwiSaver FUM after trailing more than $110 million as at September 30 last year.
However, the December quarter belonged to providers in the bottom half of the PFL table, led by Milford Asset Management, which clocked in growth of 14.4 per cent for the period with scheme FUM knocking on $3 billion.
Milford grew almost twice as fast as the provider directly above it in the PFL rankings, BNZ (up 7.4 per cent in the quarter) while retaining an edge over fellow Auckland boutique, Generate (13.8 per cent).
Generate tipped above $2.5 billion at the end of last December, pushing the manager past Mercer to claim the 10th-largest KiwiSaver provider spot and leaving the scheme snapping at the heels of Booster.
While Booster turned in a respectable 10.2 per cent growth-rate over the quarter, Generate moved to within $80 million of the Wellington-headquartered provider, roughly halving the distance between the two schemes.
Another perennial high-flyer, Simplicity, stayed on-trend, adding 13 per cent to its KiwiSaver FUM during the three months to December 31, closing the period with more than $1.5 billion.
The 20 or so schemes captured under the PFL ‘others’ category also outperformed the average, growing a collective 11.7 per cent, probably driven by a handful of contenders among the bunch.
Elsewhere at the big end of town, the three large bank-owned KiwiSaver providers – ANZ, ASB and Westpac/BT – all reported solid growth-rates of 7, 6.6 and 6.6 per cent, respectively. ANZ held close to $17.6 billion across its three KiwiSaver schemes as at the end of last year followed by ASB ($13.3 billion) and Westpac ($8.5 billion).
Mercer and Kiwi Wealth lagged the market with both reporting growth of 5.2 per cent, slightly ahead of the 5 per cent effort from AMP, which has been at the centre of ownership uncertainty at its parent ASX-listed company for some time.
According to the Melbourne-based PFL, investment returns added almost $4 billion to the KiwiSaver pot during the December quarter with net inflows amounting to $1.7 billion (a record high for the period compared to previous years).
PFL, headed by Rael Solomon, is a subsidiary of global investment governance firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).