By Nick Hedley
New Zealand-based investment manager Fisher Funds, which is 34% owned by U.S. private equity firm TA Associates, has agreed to acquire Kiwi Wealth for NZ$310 million (US$197 million), the firms said in a statement.
Fisher Funds CEO Bruce McLachlan said the acquisition is part of the company’s long-term growth plans in KiwiSaver – the nation’s retirement savings program – and active fund management activities.
Kiwi Wealth, which manages NZ$9.4 billion in assets as of February 28, is currently owned by Kiwi Group Holdings, which, in turn, is majority owned by state-owned postal service New Zealand Post.
As part of the deal, Fisher Funds will enter a strategic partnership with Kiwi Group Holdings subsidiary Kiwibank, which will refer its KiwiSaver customers to Fisher Funds.
Kiwibank chief executive Steve Jurkovich said: “This partnership delivers on our growth strategy and will enable Kiwibank to continue to offer KiwiSaver and other wealth products to our customers.”
Kiwi Group Holdings cChair Dame Paula Rebstock said the transaction will boost Kiwi Wealth’s growth.
"Kiwi Wealth's more than 270,000 members will be gaining access to Fisher Funds’ award-winning advice and active investment team," said Rebstock.
The acquisition is conditional on approval by the Overseas Investment Office, given TA Associates’ partial ownership of Fisher Funds.
Once the deal is completed, Fisher Funds and Kiwi Wealth will begin to work through a transition period to identify opportunities to grow the value of the combined businesses, the firms said. Fisher Funds will seek to retain Kiwi Wealth’s default KiwiSaver status.