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Super Fund ends relationship with Fisher

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has ended its relationship with Fisher Funds Management and will manage local small and medium cap shares itself.

Wednesday, March 26th 2008, 5:23AM
A spokesman for the fund says the decision is nothing to do with the recent departure of Fisher Funds chief investment officer Warren Couillault and it is no reflection on the firm's organisational structure, rather "the commercial drivers of the two businesses have diverged."

It is a significant change for the fund as, up until now, its job had been to appoint and manage managers, rather than undertaking investment management roles in these types of asset classes.

Fisher Funds managing director Carmel Fisher says she has been in discussion with the fund for sometime about ending the relationship.

She told Good Returns that Fisher Funds wants to continue being a retail fund manager rather than an institutional one.

Because of this change Fisher Funds is re-opening its three New Zealand funds to new investments.

The Fisher Funds NZ Growth Fund, Fisher Funds Premium NZ Fund and the Fisher Funds Fledgling Fund had been closed to new investment in October 2007 as they had grown significantly and Fisher Funds was becoming a large owner in a number of its preferred listed companies.

Fisher says although NZ Super Fund assets were held in that fund's name it still impacted on her ability to acquire shares in companies without triggering takeovers.

Consequently Fisher Funds can now raise the equivalent amount, around $100 million from retail investors.

She says with the market down there are great buying opportunities that she would like to take advantage of.

"In our view, the market turmoil of the last few months has left many good quality, proven businesses looking undervalued. We believe that there are some attractive buying opportunities in the market that will look very smart in the next year or two.

It has been frustrating for us, and our clients, to watch these opportunities emerge and not be able to invest. By re-opening our funds, we will be able to give investors the opportunity to invest at prices not seen for some time."

Fisher Funds was appointed as a manager for the NZ Super Fund in December 2003 to manage an active New Zealand equities mandate, benchmarked against a composite of the NZSX Mid and Small-Cap Indices.

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