NZ boutique managers open joint talk shop

New Zealand's funds management industry, as befits the country's size, is tiny but there's more variety than most people would think.

Hire a clipboard surveyor to harass the average man-in-the-street, however, or pay a tea-time market researcher to badger them over the phone, and you'd be lucky to squeeze out more than a couple of unprompted fund manager brand names.

Aside from the Australian bank-owned mega managers there are probably one or two others that might pop into popular consciousness you know the ones.


As a group fund managers are nominally represented by the Financial Services Council (FSC). Formerly known as the Investment Savings and Insurance Association (and still appearing under that label on its website) the FSC member list is very short on standalone funds management groups in fact there's none. FSC members tend to be insurance/investment or bank/investment/insurance conglomerates, or legal firms.

It could be that fund managers are philosophically opposed to collective action, or perhaps too busy competing to worry about joint lobbying initiatives or articulating an industry code of conduct.

Despite the lack of historical precedents, though, a new group of like-minded fund managers has just banded together to collaborate on issues of common concern.

Dubbed the Boutique Fund Managers Forum (BFMF), the group's membership is a unique subset of what is already a fairly low-profile industry.

The BFMF list includes (but is not limited to): Mint Asset Management; Pathfinder Asset Management; Elevation Capital; Pie Funds; Goldman Henry Capital Management; King Tide Asset Management, and; Diversified Investment Strategies.

According to Rebecca Thomas, Mint chief, the BFMF has set some membership rules that adhere to its definition of the term 'boutique'.

Thomas says members can't have more than $300 million under management and must also be owned by the principals in the business, which excludes a few other boutique contenders.

She says the BFMF has already met a couple of times to plot its purpose, which may include joint lobbying of government, preparing for the upcoming licensing regime etc.

At the very least, the BFMF might be able to highlight that there's more to the New Zealand funds management industry than Australian sideshows.