AMP Capital Investors (New Zealand), which manages about $16 billion of assets, sharpened its cost-base in the 2011 calendar year, but may have to strip out more as its parent embarks on an efficiency drive.

The New Zealand unit of the Australasian fund manager trimmed operating expenses by more than a quarter to $24.2 million in the 12 months ended December 31, according to its financial statements lodged with the Companies Office.

AMP Capital NZ's employment costs fell $3 million to $15.3 million, while other operating expenses dropped by 39 per cent to $8.9 million.

That comes as the parent looks to cut its cost base by A$25 million, according to Australian media reports. AMP Capital is the second-biggest fund manager across the Tasman with almost A$125 billion in funds under management as at March 31.


A spokeswoman for the local unit said a cost efficiency plan is underway but no decisions have been made.

AMP Capital NZ returned to profit with net earnings of $5.2 million last year, compared to a loss of $10.1 million in 2010. Fee income was flat at $36.8 million, while dividend income more than doubled to $4.5 million.

The fund manager provided for $615,000 in planned redundancy costs as at December 31, having utilised $1 million in the calendar year.

"In 2010, the group committed to a plan to change the organisation structure," it said in a note in the statements.

"Following the announcement of the plan, the group recognised a provision of $988,000 for the expected restructuring costs, which included employee termination benefits."

AMP Capital is a subsidiary of Australian wealth manager and insurer AMP.

Last year the group paid A$13.3 billion in cash and shares for rival Axa Asia Pacific's Australian and New Zealand businesses, selling back the Asian units to French parent Axa SA.

The dual-listed AMP shares were unchanged at $4.99 in trading on the NZX, having shed 5.9 per cent this year.

The stock fell 0.5 per cent to A$3.83 on the ASX, and is rated an average 'outperform' based on the consensus of 14 analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of A$4.379.