Article – BusinessDesk
March 31 (BusinessDesk) – Auckland funds and investment manager Fisher Funds Ltd. is to buy the KiwiSaver business run by Huljich Wealth Management, for an undisclosed sum, and transforming it into a major player in the government-subsidised retirement …
Huljich fund purchase catapults Fisher Funds to KiwiSaver big-time
by Pattrick Smellie
March 31 (BusinessDesk) – Auckland funds and investment manager Fisher Funds Ltd. is to buy the KiwiSaver business run by Huljich Wealth Management, for an undisclosed sum, and transforming it into a major player in the government-subsidised retirement savings market.
Tainted by admissions by one of its principals, Peter Huljich, that he had topped up the fund to shore up its reported returns for fund investors, the Huljich scheme was subject to numerous approaches by would-be buyers seeking scale in the increasingly competitive sector.
Huljich fell on his sword in March last year, and is currently facing a criminal prosecution by the Securities Commission, and his replacement, former Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash, severed ties with the company seven months later. Former Auckland mayor John Banks took on the role as executive chairman after his failed tilt to run the Auckland supercity.
With around 90,000 members, the Huljich scheme catapults Fisher Funds’ KiwiSaver scheme, with around 20,000 members, from a niche player to being larger than three of the existing default KiwiSaver provider funds, Fisher Funds managing director Carmel Fisher told BusinessDesk.
There will be more than $400 million in funds under management in the combined schemes.
Fisher is acquiring a combination of the Huljich fund’s liquid assets and cash in lieu of acquiring some illiquid New Zealand shares and property assets.
Subject to approvals expected in May from the Government Actuary, the transaction will transfer all duly notified members of the Huljich KiwiSaver Scheme into the Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Scheme, where their funds will be managed according to Fisher’s investment strategy.
“Huljich members will enjoy all the benefits they have been used to, as well as getting access to a proven, experienced investment team, an award-winning communications capability and ultimately, as a result of the increased scale of the combined businesses, lower costs,” said Carmel Fisher in a statement. “Our KiwiSaver Growth Fund is the best performing growth or aggressive fund over one, two and three years to 31 December 2010.”
Huljich Wealth Management’s Banks said the firm would now “move on from the KiwiSaver business, recognising that increasing compliance costs and regulation will change the KiwiSaver landscape in future years.”
A letter regarding the proposed transfer, and the Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Scheme investment statement, will be sent to all Huljich KiwiSaver members in early April, providing details of the timetable and process.