BNZ KiwiSaver has scheduled a makeover for its NZ equity and fixed income assets with incumbent manager, Russell Investments, set to be replaced next March.
A BNZ spokesperson confirmed: “We are looking to effect some changes in our manager line-up for BNZ KiwiSaver for two asset classes in March. The implementation is in its early stages.”
It is understood the changes would see Mint Asset Management and Nikko Asset Management sharing NZ equities duties for the BNZ scheme once the new mandate comes into force. Currently, the BNZ scheme invests via the Russell NZ shares fund, which counts Harbour Asset Management and Devon Funds Management as underlying managers.
However, Harbour would retain a role – albeit somewhat diluted – with the BNZ KiwiSaver as one of two NZ fixed income managers for the scheme along with AMP Capital, according to sources. Harbour is the sole underlying manager for BNZ scheme incumbent, the Russell NZ fixed income fund.
As at March 31 this year the BNZ KiwiSaver scheme reported funds under management with the Russell NZ shares and fixed income portfolios of $125 million and $113 million, respectively. The scheme now has almost $1.5 billion under management, up almost $400 million since the end of March.
Last year BNZ dumped Russell as international equities manager in favour of the Australian-based JANA Multi-Manager Global Shares Trust, which now looks after more than $260 million in the portfolio. JANA, part-owned by BNZ parent National Australia Bank, is also asset consultant to the KiwiSaver scheme.
Russell, which managed all BNZ KiwiSaver assets bar cash when the scheme launched in 2013, retains the global bond mandate worth more than $340 million as at March 31. In addition to its new NZ equities mandate, Nikko already looks after the BNZ scheme cash portfolio valued at almost $310 million in March.
In March this year, Donna Nicolof, BNZ head of wealth and private bank, told Investment News the bank had shifted to “discrete mandates with investment managers” across its fund business as it implemented a new responsible investing framework.
As well as the KiwiSaver scheme, BNZ manages a further $3 billion in funds sourced from its private banking client base.
Meanwhile, potential new-entrant KiwiSaver provider, the Ngāi Tahu-owned Whai Rawa group, has attracted about a dozen replies after putting out an expressions of interest note in November.
David Tikao, Whai Rawa chief, said the board planned to winnow down the list at a “board hui” slated for the end of January next year.
“At that board hui, we hope to have refined a shortlist for RFP [request for proposal],” Tikao said. “We’ll present those findings back to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu mid-February, 2018.”