Home-grown investment boutiques Milford Asset Management and Booster are both rapidly closing in on Mercer in the KiwiSaver funds under management (FUM) race, according to the latest data from Australian research house Plan for Life (PFL).
The PFL figures show Booster and Milford neck-and-neck with FUM of more than $1.9 billion apiece as at September 30 last year. Milford was just $15 million behind Booster, the ninth-largest KiwiSaver scheme, but growing at 11.5 per cent over the September quarter compared to 7.6 per cent for the latter.
At current growth rates Milford should surpass the default scheme provider Mercer by FUM during this quarter with Booster following closely. Mercer reported KiwiSaver FUM of just above $2.1 billion at the end of last September after growing 4.2 per cent during the three-month period.
Meanwhile, BNZ equaled Milford’s quarterly growth-rate of 11.5 per cent in an effort that brought the bank-owned scheme to the brink of $2.6 billion in FUM.
But Generate once again topped the growth charts, adding almost 16 per cent in the September quarter to reach $1.6 billion in FUM. The Auckland-based boutique achieved a similar result (15.3 per cent) in the June quarter.
Outside the high-flyers the PFL figures also reflect a steady-state KiwiSaver universe with the three largest providers – ANZ, ASB and Westpac – more-or-less hitting the average market growth-rate of 6.1 per cent while AMP (3.1 per cent), Aon (4.4 per cent) and Kiwi Wealth (4.7 per cent) occupied the slower lanes with Mercer.
Fisher (6 per cent) and the NZX-owned Smartshares (6.7 per cent) stayed on track with the latter almost clearing the $1 billion hurdle by September 30.
As per recent trends highlighted in the PFL data, the 20 or so KiwiSaver providers huddled under the ‘others’ umbrella collectively grew above the market average rate of 6.1 per cent during the quarter.
According to the PFL figures, the ‘others’ increased FUM by 6.4 per cent over the September period to finish at about $2.6 billion. (Simplicity represented about a third of the ‘others’ market at September 30 with FUM of about $850 million, putting the passive-leaning provider above Aon in the PFL rankings.)
Total KiwiSaver FUM grew more than $3.6 billion (split between $2 billion of net flows and the remainder in investment returns) during the September quarter to finish at almost $63 billion.
Solid market returns in the final three months of 2019 should see all KiwiSaver boats rise again in the next PFL report.
Nonetheless, provider rankings could face a shake-up this year if rumoured ownership changes unfold. AMP, for example, is expected to offload its NZ wealth management arm this quarter with Fisher Funds part-owner (TA Associates) and entities associated with government-owned Kiwi Wealth tipped as bidders.
Either Fisher or Kiwi Wealth would jump to third on the KiwiSaver FUM list if merged with the AMP scheme. Earlier in January local media also reported Kiwibank (which shares the same government owners as Kiwi Wealth) was a potential buyer of BNZ bank. Together, Kiwi Wealth and the BNZ schemes would create the fourth-largest KiwiSaver provider.