FNZ is making a bid to break into the US investment platform market with global asset management giant, State Street, tipped as a potential partner, UK press reported last week.
According to the New Model Adviser (NMA) publication, the NZ-originated platform provider was in talks with several parties ahead of a planned US expansion.
“The US is part of our medium-term roadmap and we are involved in a number of discussions with a number of different potential partners,” an FNZ spokesperson told NMA. “But we are not close to a particular deal with any party.”
Last October the Al Gore-founded Generation Investment Management and Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec bought a two-thirds stake in FNZ for about $2.3 billion.
FNZ has about $640 billion in funds under administration across its key markets of UK, Europe and Australasia.
Following last year’s private equity buyout, FNZ founder, Adrian Durham, said in a release: “The deal will help us grow share in the wealth-management platform market to trillions versus hundreds of billions.
“You have to be a scale player.”
The US would be a logical destination for FNZ with the backing of its new North American majority owners. But the US platform market is highly-competitive and could be harder to crack than the relatively under-developed state FNZ encountered when it embarked on its UK and European campaign in 2005.
FNZ employs about 1,400 people in locations spanning the UK, Europe (including a big back-office presence in the Czech Republic), Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Australia and NZ.
The core FNZ software was originally incubated within the Wellington office of broking firm First NZ Capital (now known as FNZC) before it was spun off into a separate entity in 2004.
Since landing cornerstone UK client, Standard Life, in 2005, FNZ has considerably expanded its client list – especially in Europe – to include big name financial institutions such as Zurich, Aviva, Barclays, HSBC and Santander.
In 2018 FNZ bought the German investment platform Ebase from Commerzbank after taking a stake in UK-based robo-advice firm, Advicefront the previous year.
Back on its home turf, FNZ has about $15 billion under management for a range of NZ institutions and financial advisory groups, including close to $2 billion with adviser services firm, Consilium.
Following the private equity ownership changes, the ultimate FNZ holding company changed from Kiwi Holdco Cayco to another Caymans Islands-domiciled vehicle, Falcon Newco, in December last year.