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AMPAM crowned Fund Manager of the Year

IPAC Fund Manager of the Year winners.

Friday, July 16th 1999, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

TO SEE WHO WON THE OTHER CATEGORIES CLICK HERE

AMP Asset Management can now claim not only to be the biggest asset manager in New Zealand, but also the best. Research house IPAC Securities has today announced that AMPAM has won the 8th annual Fund Manager of the Year awards.

IPAC general manager David van Schaardenburg says AMPAM has strong people and process characteristics, plus excellent fund performances.

"AMPAM has demonstrated significant improvement over the last few years to become the top fund manager when measured by IPAC's qualitative process," he says.

AMPAM managing director Murray Gribben says AMPAM has come a long way in the three years since it was unshackled from the life company.

Its assets under management have grown from $5 billion to $9.3 billion and it has broadened its client base. Three years ago only about 10 per cent of its clients were external, now nearly a third of its clients are outside the group, and it includes major institutions such as ASB Bank, National Bank Financial Services and ANZ.

"Size doesn't make us a winner," Gribben says. "Size gives us depth and resource."

Gribben says AMPAM intends to remain a wholesale manager and rely on organisations such as the banks, and AMP advisers to distribute its products.

AMPAM has expanded its product range to include passive funds such as WiNZ and Tracker, and it has listed the AMP Office Trust.

Gribben says WiNZ has been a huge success and now has about $900 million under management.

In the past year AMPAM has been busy digesting its acquisition of the National Bank's fund management arm Southpac, which managed more than $1.2 billion, plus AMPAM has been active in the private capital market and the property sector, where it recently acquired the management contract for listed company Property for Industry.

Gribben says what really differentiates AMPAM from other managers is it penetration and depth.

The two critical factors for success are investment performance and quality relationships. In the past couple of years AMPAM has shown it can put the runs on the board for investors, plus it has extensive relationships with corporate New Zealand.

For instance it is the biggest landlord in the country, it has about $3 billion lent out to New Zealand businesses, its equity managers are on the road talking to managers learning about industries and companies and finally its client services team has relationships with a large proportion of the corporate super schemes.

AMPAM has its own international managers, UK-based Henderson Investors, and it is committed to keeping its research in house.

Gribben says the company is striving for consistent improvement and it is getting ready for its next growth period.

Winning the top award is "recognition off the effort people here put in to make this place hum."

AMPAM's success ends a marvellous winning streak experienced by Tower Asset Management. In the past four years it has won the top spot, but this year has to share the runner-up position with Armstrong Jones.

Van Schaardenburg says TAM has put in a good effort this year. It has kept a stable work force, its processes remain robust, however performance has dropped off a little.

TAM chief executive Paul Bevin says funds flow in the wholesale area has been a little flat in the past year, however retail is fizzing along. He says TAM has been picking up between $3 and $4 million of new money each week for quite some time.

Bevin describes the investment side of the business as being quite tough, and the outlook is uncertain. The question he asks is: how sustainable are the US share prices? Also, he questions whether the recovery in Asia and Japan is sustainable.

Armstrong Jones has had another good year with good performance and retention of its key people. Managing director Paul Fyfe says AJ has had another strong year and it has expanded its distribution network.

WestpacTrust has been named as the most improved fund manager of the year.

TO SEE WHO WON THE OTHER CATEGORIES CLICK HERE

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