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UK transfers boost AXA NZ kitty

UK pension transfers have made a "meaningful contribution" to AXA New Zealand's positive net retail fund flows in the first three months of the year, according to Ralph Stewart, head of AXA NZ.

Thursday, April 23rd 2009, 5:56AM

by David Chaplin

"There's been significant pension transfers from the UK into the personal super business in Q1 this year," Stewart said.

In figures released to the ASX yesterday, AXA NZ reported positive net inflows of just over $21 million in the first quarter of 2009 despite seeing a decline of almost 30% in gross retail flows.

The performance was an improvement of 145% compared to the same period last year when the AXA retail business experienced net outflows of $47.6 million.

Stewart said as well as the UK pension transfers, which fed chiefly into the group's personal super products, AXA's business super, traditional savings line and KiwiSaver funds continued to attract business.

"Spicers [one of AXA's financial advisory firms] is doing well too with net flows better than last year," he said.

AXA NZ wholesale funds business, however, continued to decline with net outflows of $12.4 million in the quarter to the end of March while gross inflows dropped almost 50% to $192.4 million compared to the same period last year.

The wholesale net flows were significantly better than the same period last year when the group lost just over $345 million in funds under management. However, in the previous period the ouflows represented transfers out of AXA's wholesale index funds following the removal of the tax concession for passive investment funds.

Stewart said this time round the wholesale outflows primarily reflected money exiting the AXA-owned international equities manager AllianceBernstein.

Compared to March 31, 2008, AXA NZ's total funds under administration and advice dropped about 6% from $6.29 billion to $5.89 billion.

At the same time AXA NZ personal insurance business remained steady over the first three months of 2009 with new business premiums reaching $4.1 million, the same as during the March 2008 quarter.

Overall, however, AXA NZ new risk business dropped 16% in the quarter compared to the same period in 2008, driven primarily by a decline in group life sales.

"We had large group life sales in the first quarter of 2008," Stewart said.

In Australia, AXA experienced net retail outflows of more than A$230 million while its new risk business grew by 24% in the first quarter of 2009.

Yesterday AXA Australia also revealed it would cut about120 jobs, mainly in its Melbourne headquarters, as the recession starts to bite.

Stewart said AXA NZ was not planning any further redundancies after culling its numbers late last year.

 

 

 

 

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