Milford Asset Management leapt above Fisher Funds into the top five retail NZ fund managers ranking following a stellar September quarter.
The latest NZ retail market share figures from Australian research house Plan For Life (PFL) show Milford grew almost 11 per cent in the September 2019 quarter, pushing funds under management (FUM) to just under $7.6 billion.
Despite posting an above-average 6.1 per cent FUM growth-rate during the three-month period, Fisher lagged Milford by more than $340 million as at September 30, according to the PFL survey. Milford held 6.8 per cent of the NZ retail fund market at the end of September (up from 6 per cent 12 months previously) compared to 6.5 per cent (an increase of 0.3 per cent over the annual period) for Fisher, which ceded boasting rights as NZ’s biggest boutique investment firm.
(Although, Fisher may not fall under the somewhat flexible definition of boutique given its owners comprise a bank-associated entity – TSB Community Trust – and the US private equity firm, TA Associates.)
As per recent trends, Milford and BNZ reported the strongest growth-rates with the latter bank-owned fund division up 11.5 per cent for the quarter and 32.2 per cent over the 12 months. Milford saw FUM rise 26.7 per cent in the 12-month period followed by Booster (20.3 per cent), Fisher (17.3 per cent) and ASB (15 per cent).
With the notable exception of AMP, all of the other 10 largest managers turned in passable-to-good annual growth figures ranging from 7.8 per cent for Mercer to 12 per cent for Kiwi Wealth.
The in-play AMP, however, continued its dire run of results, growing just 1.3 per cent over the 12-month period and 1.4 per cent in the September quarter compared to the respective averages of 12.1 per cent and 4.7 per cent. AMP shed 1.1 per cent during the 12 months ending September 30 to close with a 10.8 per cent market share (or $11.9 billion).
It is understood final bids for the AMP NZ wealth business have been lodged with TA Associates a rumoured front-runner while fellow US private equity firm, Blackstone (half-owner of Partners Life), dropped out of the race.
Westpac, too, has fallen off the pace of late, growing only 2.7 per cent in the quarter – the weakest of the major players bar AMP.
The PFL data shows AMP and Westpac reported 12-month gross inflow growth figures of -7.8 per cent and -3.2 per cent, respectively – the only groups falling into the red by this measure.
“Most of the main companies posted double digit percentage increases in their [gross] Inflows in particular mid to smaller players Generate (57.5%), Fisher (41.4%), Russell (33.5%), BNZ (33.4%) and Milford (29.8%),” the PFL report says.
Overall, gross inflows spiked more than 25 per cent in the September quarter to $9 billion, buoyed by the annual infusion of government-supplied KiwiSaver member tax credits.
For the 12-month period gross retail fund market flows were up 10.7 per cent to almost $30 billion, the PFL report says, while total FUM (comprising net flows and market returns) soared 12.1 per cent led by KiwiSaver (17.1 per cent) and non-superannuation managed funds (7.3 per cent).
KiwiSaver hit almost $63.4 billion at September 30, comprising close to 60 per cent of the NZ retail fund market of about $111 billion.
PFL reverted to its original brand from Strategic Insight after it was purchased by Institutional Shareholder Services last year. The Melbourne-headquartered actuarial consulting and research firm was founded in 1988 by Simon Solomon while Rael Solomon is now regional managing director.