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FNZ wrap looks for buyer

The FNZ wrap platform, which powers the investment administration for a number of big institutions and advisory firms in New Zealand and the UK, is up for sale.

Wednesday, November 12th 2008, 6:55AM

by David Chaplin

According to a number of sources contacted by Good Returns, FNZ has had the wrap on the market for several months, although no strong suitors have yet emerged.

FNZ, previously known as the First New Zealand Capital wrap, administers more than $3 billion in New Zealand for institutional clients including BNZ, Tower, ING and AMP as well as financial planning firms such as Professional Investment Services.

Late in 2005, FNZ scored a major coup by winning the contract to create a wrap for UK financial services giant Standard Life. The deal was worth over $100 million to FNZ, which has since also won the right to provide the investment administration system for the Axa UK wrap.

According to a recent Standard Life press statement, as at the end of September this year its wrap service has about £1.6 billion in funds under administration, representing over 330 independent advisory firms and 14,300 underlying clients. The result was a 45% increase compared to the end of December last year when the Standard Life wrap boasted £1.1 billion in funds under administration, sourced from 209 advisory firms and 8,100 clients.

However, over the same period the average client holding in the Standard Life wrap has slumped from £133,000 to £114,000. It is understood FNZ charges about 20-30 basis points for its services.

FNZ’s major rival in New Zealand, the ASB-owned Aegis platform, has also been rumoured to be on the block. However, an Aegis spokesperson denied a sale was being considered.

According to its latest accounts, Aegis returned a net profit of about $2.4 million in the year to June 30, 2008, down from $2.6 million in the previous period.

On July 1 this year ASB Bank bought out 100% of Aegis shares from sister firm Sovereign. Both ASB and Sovereign are owned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

As at press time FNZ was unavailable for comment.

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