Melville Jessup Weaver (MJW) has snared two senior Mercer staff to front a new permanent Auckland base for its growing scheme administration business.
Steve Grant, MJW principal and head of superannuation administration, said the two experienced ex Mercer staff would bolster the firm’s further expansion in the sector, especially in the defined benefit (DB) scheme space.
Currently, all MJW scheme admin staff are based in Wellington, servicing almost 25 schemes (compared to just seven at the end of 2014). Despite doubling admin staff numbers in Wellington over the previous three years, Grant said “we’re at capacity now”.
“But as we look forward to the next two or three years we see an opportunity for further growth, particularly in the Auckland area,” he said. “The move to establish a permanent administration team in Auckland allows Auckland clients to be closer to the administration team and enhances MJW’s position to attract potential new Auckland based clients.”
Grant said the Mercer duo collectively have almost 40 years’ experience in the industry, including specialist knowledge on DB schemes that “generally contain complex provisions”.
“They will add a significant boost to our existing administration and secretarial clients as well as putting us in a great position for the growth opportunities we see on the horizon,” he said.
The former Mercer employees will officially join MJW in mid-October.
In November 2015 Mercer lost its largest NZ fund administration client after Fisher Funds consolidated the registery functions for its then $6.6 billion business under Trustees Executors (TE). Fisher previously split the back-office duties between TE and Mercer (a role it maintained after the Takapuna-headquartered manager bought the Tower Investments business in 2013). Mercer continues as administrator for its $1.6 billion KiwiSaver scheme and other associated funds including its almost $490 milion super master trust and the and $50 million NZ Defence Force KiwiSaver.
Last year Mercer Australia expanded its superannuation back-office business with the purchase of Pillar Administration from the NSW government, beating out major rival, Link, in a fraught sales process.