Generate rakes in new FUM

Adviser-distributed Generate KiwiSaver grew its funds under management by just over a quarter in the three months to the end of June, a new survey shows.

Aon has released its KiwiSaver survey for the June quarter, which shows overall FUM increased by 4%, to $32.9 billion.

But Generate was a standout performer, with a 28.4% increase in FUM over the period. That takes it to 0.7% of the total KiwiSaver market – still the second-smallest provider.

Milford and BNZ followed with 7.8% increases.

Banks still dominate the KiwiSaver market – the big five manage 67.5 % of the assets under management in KiwiSaver and have grown their FUM by $925 million over the last quarter and $2 billion this year. ANZ is by far the biggest provider, with 26.1% of funds under management, or just under $9 billion. It is followed by ASB, with 18.9% or just over $6 billion.

The Milford Active Growth Fund was the standout performing over the year, returning more than 9%. Aon’s survey shows returns after fees and tax.

But conservative funds did the best in the quarter – Fisher Funds and Milford’s conservative options returned 1.8%.

Since the inception of KiwiSaver, Fisher Funds’ growth fund has been the star performing, delivering 8.2 per cent per year.

The Aon survey shows that across the board, managers are now slightly overweight to cash but underweight on international and New Zealand equities.

Generate was not available to comment.

Call for KiwiSaver to follow Super Fund on ethical investing

New Zealand’s newest KiwiSaver provider is calling on the rest of the industry to adopt standard responsible investing protocols.

KiwiSaver investments have been in the spotlight over recent days after a political outcry over revelations that some default funds are invested in companies making bombs and land mines. 

Sam Stubbs, of new KiwiSaver provider Simplicity, said it would make sense for the whole industry to follow the NZ Super Fund’s policy on responsible investment.

The fund has an extensive responsible investing programme, including exclusions for companies involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions, manufacture or testing of nuclear explosives, anit-personnel mines, tobacco or whale meat.

Stubbs said it was an elegant solution that was already set up and ready to be applied to KiwiSaver, too. “We have a Kiwi solution that is world class,” he said.

Simplicity is to use Vanguard funds for its KiwiSaver investments.

That would breach the NZSF rules in its current form – Grosvenor has had to move to drop its investment in the Vanguard Index Fund because of its exposure to cluster bomb manufacturers.

But Stubbs said it should be straightforward to get other KiwiSaver providers to agree to follow the principles, and they could then go to Vanguard to ask for it to apply the exclusions to investment vehicles used by KiwiSaver providers. Only a small number of shares would need to be excluded, he said.

“I hope they all fall into line,” he said. “I can’t see why you wouldn’t. It’s a very easy way to approach it that would solve the problem in a robust way.”

A University of Auckland researcher, Matheson Russell, has been calling for some time for all default schemes to be invested responsibly.

He said there should be a legislative mandate for all schemes to work to a framework in the same way that the Super Fund did. “There is a history of neglect in this topic and the chickens are coming home to roost as people realise what they are invested in.”

He said it was naive to suggest that investors should pay attention to where their money was going. “We need to be realistic about how much effort people put into it.”

The managed funds industry had changed with the advent of KiwISaver, he said, and was now a much more mainstream product and the expectations on providers should reflect that.

IFA chief executive Fred Dodds said it was not the responsibility of advisers to drill down to the underlying investments of funds. Instead, they would try to get an overall view of what a client would be comfortable with.

“I don’t think it is necessary for advisers to drill down to the specific issues of armaments, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, nuclear Power – that would be a challenging exercise. On the basis that an adviser’s role is to determine the requirements of a client then I would imagine many advisers would have this issue come up in initial discussions around financial goals and educating clients on how to achieve them This would include overviews of different investment types and the issues of responsible and ethical investments.”

KiwiSaver transfers from Australia still a drag

Some New Zealanders trying to transfer Australian superannuation funds back to this country are still facing difficulties, one adviser says.

Trans-Tasman portability of superannuation funds has been possible since 2013. Funds can be transferred to KiwiSaver schemes.

But Jeremy Hoskin, of Super-Advice, which helps with the process, said many people were still being left frustrated.

“With more New Zealanders returning than going to Australia, this service is really ramping up,” he said. “The common thread is the absolute frustration from people who have tried unsuccessfully to gain access to their funds. There appears to be administrative roadblocks put in place to deter people from getting their money across to New Zealand.”

He said his firm had helped move about $1.5 million in super savings so far. The biggest transfer was $500,000.

The Australian fund managers in particular were reluctant to play ball, and the transfer could take a significant amount of time, he said. “They seem to lose documents a lot. I have had that happen multiple times.”

He said there was a lot of money in Australia that New Zealanders could bring back. “There is more money in Australian super funds earned by New Zealanders than in all of the KiwiSaver schemes. You can see why they don’t want to let it go.”

More “lost super” is being transferred to the Australian Tax Office, where it is harder to access it.

AN ANZ spokesperson said things had been running more smoothly for the last year. “Generally, once the member has completed the Australian forms and sent these to their provider…it only takes a few weeks to have their savings in their KiwiSaver account.”

But she said it might be easier for ANZ than some providers because it was the only one with an exemption to allow people in New Zealand to open an Australian scheme, so they could consolidate their savings in one place.

ANZ had $31 million transferred across the Tasman in the year to July 2016, up from $20 million the year before.  Since transfers began, 2659 ANZ members had transferred $63.7 million from Australia into a KiwiSaver scheme.

SuperLife shines for NZX

SuperLife’s KiwiSaver business grew 26.6% in the six months to the end of June, the NZX has revealed today.

The sharemarket operator has released its half-yearly financial results.

Total NZX revenues for the hal- year of $37.9 million were up 10.3% on the previous corresponding period.

Earnings before net finance expense, tax, depreciation and amortisation and gain on sale were down 8% to $10.8 million as a result of a $1.6 million increase in Ralec litigation costs, with the Ralec trial concluding in July. Excluding costs associated with that litigation, EBITDA was up 5.3% to $13.7 million.

Net profit after tax of $3.6 million included an impairment charge on brand assets in NZX’s agri business and an adjustment to the provision for the NZX Wealth Technologies (NZXWT) earnout.

Excluding these items and the gain on the sale of NZX’s stake in Link Market Services in the prior year, net earnings of $4 million were 34.9% down on the prior year.

Funds under management in SuperLife’s KiwiSaver business grew 26.6%, while total SuperLife FUM increased by 13.1%. Highlights in that business included winning four new group superannuation mandates, NZX said.

Total external FUM in NZX’s Smartshares business – which provides a range of 23 ETFs – was up 6.9% on the same period last year.

Smartshares, incorporating SuperLife, has been granted a licence as a manager of a registered scheme by the FMA under the FMCA. As part of the process of FMCA compliance, NZX will amalgamate the Smartshares and SuperLife legal entities in the last quarter of this year, although the brands will remain separate.

NZX acquired NZX Wealth Technologies, formerly Apteryx, in August 2015.

Earlier this month NZX announced it had signed an agreement with Craigs Investment Partners to provide the NZXWT platform for Craigs’ KiwiSaver product.

NZX said it was talking to a range of other potential clients about their future requirements for wealth platforms.