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BusinessDesk: Fisher Funds Management reaps fatter fees as funds outperform

BusinessDesk: Fisher Funds Management reaps fatter fees as funds outperform

Fisher Funds Management enjoyed a healthy performance bonus in the 2011 financial year as its bevy of funds beat their benchmarks for the period.

The fund manager made a profit of NZ$4.3 million in the 12 months ended March 31, up from NZ$3.1 million a year earlier, according to financial statements lodged with the Companies Office.

Fee income surged 43 percent to NZ$12.9 million with the bulk of that uplift from a jump in its performance fee to almost NZ$3 million, from just NZ$468,000 a year earlier. Management fees, which are based on the funds’ gross asset value, rose to NZ$9.5 million from NZ$8.3 million.

That result came in a period where most of the fund manager’s funds outperformed the NZX 50 index on an annual basis, which advanced 5.3 percent in the 12 months through March.

The accounts show Fisher Funds’ owners were paid a dividend of NZ$2.2 million in the latest year, down from NZ$2.9 million in 2010. So far this year it has declared dividends of NZ$1 million. The fund manager’s staff did better in 2011, with entitlements and benefits up to NZ$4.8 million from NZ$3.2 million a year earlier.

Since balance date, the funds haven’t performed as strongly as markets sank in recent months after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US credit rating and Euro-zone nations struggled to come to grips with a fragile banking system and high levels of public debt. In New Zealand, the stock market’s benchmark index has dropped 4.2 percent since March 31.

“It’s not the end of the world, but it is a tougher world to operate in, and it doesn’t feel like a significant upturn is lurking around the corner,” managing director Carmel Fisher said in her latest monthly newsletter.

“We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see some more market rallies between now and Christmas – remember there are some good things happening out there – but we’re going to have to tolerate the dips in between.”

The fund manager boosted its footprint in the KiwiSaver market, acquiring the members of the now-defunct Huljich KiwiSaver scheme. That added about 87,000 members with a net asset value of some NZ$191 million. The purchase was funded by a combination of bank debt and equity.

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