Milford Asset Management fell just shy of racking up second consecutive quarter of $1 billion growth in retail funds during the three months to March 31, bringing the firm within shouting distance of the country’s fourth-largest manager, AMP.
According to the latest figures from Australian research house Plan for Life, Milford added about $970 million to funds under management (FUM) during the March quarter following an almost $1.3 billion increase over three months to the end of 2020.
As at March 31, Milford reported retail FUM over $11.5 billion compared to just above $12 billion for AMP, which eked out growth of only 0.6 per cent during the quarter and 10 per cent for the 12-month period (the lowest of the 10 managers named in the PFL study).
The latest quarterly result was at least positive for AMP, reversing somewhat from previous nominal FUM decreases – a feat only achieved by the Westpac-owned BT, which shed $70 million (or -0.5 per cent) over the three-month period.
Mercer (0.5 per cent) and ASB (0.8 per cent) also recorded tepid growth in a generally upbeat quarter topped by, of course, Milford (9.2 per cent), Booster (5.9 per cent) and Fisher Funds (4.9 per cent).
For the 12 months to the end of March this year all retail managers outside the top four booked annual FUM gains of over 20 per cent, ranging from 24.1 per cent for Mercer to 53.2 per cent for Milford.
With the exception of Booster, which inched above BNZ to claim ninth-place in the top 10 table, manager size rankings remain unchanged compared to the end of last year. At current growth-rates, however, Milford could overtake AMP in the June quarter.
Among the top-tier players, ASB hit the highest annual growth-rate of 17.2 per cent followed by ANZ (13.1 per cent), BT (12.4 per cent) and AMP (10 per cent).
The collective cohort of smaller ‘other companies’ also grew by more than 32 per cent during the 12-month period and 4.1 per cent in the March quarter, the PFL figures show.
“Retail Managed Funds at the end of March totalled NZ$132.9bn, up strongly by 22.4% over the past year as investment markets bounced back from the 2020 COVID-19 sell-offs,” the report says.
KiwiSaver saw an annual FUM increase of about 32 per cent to reach just under $82 billion overall at the end of March, the study says, almost double the non-superannuation managed funds sector that held $41.7 billion at the same date (up 8.2 per cent year-on-year).
While the table measures net FUM growth, PFL notes retail fund gross inflows during the March quarter “fell 22.2% to NZ$7.8bn but year on year they were still up a modest 2.9%”.
“Very significant annual Inflow growth was experienced by Nikko (55.1%), Booster (49.8%), Fisher (35.4%), AMP (28.7%) and Milford (25.2%) however those of BT / Westpac (-13.2%) and ANZ (-9.9%) were both lower,” the report says.
The Melbourne-based actuarial consulting PFL business, headed by Rael Solomon, is owned by global proxy voting firm Institutional Shareholder Services.