Inside Money

Business writer David Chaplin blogs on personal finance

Inside Money: New boutique set for NZ Super

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Paul Glass, principal of Devon Funds Management - expected to be the latest to have a crack at managing money for the NZ Superannuation Fund. Photo / Supplied
Paul Glass, principal of Devon Funds Management - expected to be the latest to have a crack at managing money for the NZ Superannuation Fund. Photo / Supplied

Brook has had a go, so has Fisher , and now it looks like Devon Funds Management will be the latest boutique to have a crack at looking after money for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZS).

While this is all unofficial, off-the-record, and totally unsubstantiated, the about-to-be news that Devon has won a New Zealand equities mandate from the NZS should not come as a surprise - especially now I've mentioned it.

Last month when Devon named BNP Paribas as its new custodian and funds administrator, the group's head of operations, Mel Firmin, told me that was in preparation for an imminent large flow of wholesale money - a strong clue that an NZS mandate was in the offing.

Devon, launched by ex-Brook founder Paul Glass in February 2010, has quickly gained traction in the market with funds under management (FUM) already in the hundreds (pick a number between one and nine) of millions of dollars.

The NZ Super mandate, thought to be about $250 million, should take Devon closer to the magic $1 billion FUM figure, which any ambitious funds manager would aspire to.

As it happens, the NZS itself has invested just over $1 billion in New Zealand equities, according to its latest performance report.

And while the NZS manages some of that local equity allocation internally passively, it currently farms out the active NZ shares management duties to AMP Capital and another rising NZ boutique Milford Asset Management .

It's not clear yet whether Devon is joining the NZS party as an additional manager or as a replacement. Earning a mandate from New Zealand's second-biggest money pool - ACC currently boasts a bigger portfolio - is a mixed blessing for fund managers: what the NZS giveth (at very slim margins), it can also taketh away.


David Chaplin

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