Mint Asset Management has secured a $150 million New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZS) local equities mandate, partially filling the spot vacated last November by AMP Capital.
After a drawn-out selection process, complicated further in April following the NZS decision to suspend Milford Asset Management from its $281 million local shares mandate, Mint was officially awarded the job today.
While the Mint mandate was about half of the amount managed by AMP Capital, the allocation may increase over time as NZS builds further ‘conviction’ in the manager.
The win will take Mint above $450 million under management – still in the FUM sweet spot – with Mint chief, Rebecca Thomas, saying the firm had a “strong pipeline” of further mandates.
It is understood the NZS ruled out $1 billion plus managers such as Harbour Asset Management and Salt Funds Management (which won an approximately $700 million local shares portfolio from AMP Capital in March) due to capacity concerns.
The NZS also confirmed today the Milford mandate would remain on hold. Industry sources said NZS was unlikely to reinstate Milford in the mandate.
Milford was ‘temporarily’ relieved of its NZS portfolio in April pending the outcome of a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) investigation into market manipulation allegations.
After the FMA completed the first phase of its investigation last month, Milford agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine without admitting liability for any alleged market manipulation charges. Milford also upgraded its governance practices, including routing all portfolio trades via a newly-built central dealing team.
In a statement Matt Whineray, NZS chief investment officer, said the fund was committed to a mix-and-match strategy for local equities, sharing management of its $1 billion NZ shares portfolio with its in-house team and third-party managers.
“Mint is a welcome addition to our stable of managers and we look forward to working closely with them,” Whineray said.
”We look forward to working with the team at the NZ Super Fund and making a contribution to the Fund’s ongoing success,” Thomas said.