Former NZX and AMP corporate superannuation guru, Ian Miller, has rejoined Simplicity in a full-time head of sales role starting this week.
Miller served as Simplicity’s sales director in a short-term contract role in 2017 before taking up the head of corporate super position at the NZX-owned SuperLife in July of that year.
Previously, he clocked up over 12 years at AMP – including almost 10 as head of corporate super – in a two-part career interrupted by five years as Tower head of wholesale investments where he worked alongside Sam Stubbs, Simplicity founder.
Stubbs said Miller replaces Daniel Relf who joined financial advisory training business, Strategi, in June as chief executive following an eight-month stint at Simplicity.
However, he said Simplicity had no immediate plans to draw on Miller’s corporate super experience to launch into that space.
“We have made no firm decision to move into corporate super,” Stubbs said. “But there are large parts of the institutional investor market that could find our products attractive… it’s up in the air.”
The NZ corporate super marketplace is dominated by a handful of players headed by Miller’s old shops AMP and SuperLife, which manage a respective $3.3 billion and $2.2 billion, according to the March 2019 quarter EriksensGlobal master trust report.
In total, the EriksensGlobal report shows the NZ corporate super market grew by about $533 million over the March quarter to reach more than $8.2 billion. Aside from the big two, only four other firms feature in the EriksensGlobal survey, namely: ASB ($1.4 billion); Fisher Funds ($530 million); Mercer ($503 million); and Aon ($170 million).
While corporate super is a sunset industry in NZ, the market remains an attractive source of sticky wholesale money. Recently, however, activity has perked up in the sector with a number of corporate master trust contracts under review, including the plum $1 billion Air NZ ‘KoruSaver’ portfolio currently held by AMP (in the NZ Retirement Trust).
Air NZ had planned to finalise its review of its staff retirement savings offer (which includes a mix of traditional staff super and KiwiSaver funds) late last year but has yet to announce a decision. A number of providers, including Simplicity and Mercer, were up for consideration, according to sources.
Michael Chamberlain, former head of SuperLife (and one of its founders), was advising Air NZ on the review.
It is understood a new player could be gearing up to launch in the NZ corporate super scene.
Simplicity, meanwhile, is closing on $1 billion in funds under management, Stubbs said, most of which has arrived through its KiwiSaver scheme (which was sitting on just under $600 million as at March 31 this year).
He said the group was generating about $38,000 each month in charitable donations, pledged as part of its operating model.
According to the latest Simplicity accounts, the company reported an after-tax loss of $94,000 over the 12 months to March 31 this year on revenue of over $2.4 million. In the previous financial year Simplicity lost $380,000 after booking income of almost $1.4 million.
During the 2018/19 period Simplicity paid $261,000 to its ultimate owner, Simplicity Charitable Trust, as donations. The year also saw a shake-up in the firm’s capital structure as new investor, the Stephen Tindall-owned K One W One, lent $1.5 million to the business.
Following the Tindall top-up Simplicity repaid the $600,000 in interest-free capital Stubbs previously lent to the firm. The Tindall loan is to be repaid over three years with interest of 3.5 per cent per annum.