Two New Zealand Kiwisaver QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) may merge into a single superfund.
The two providers –Grosvenor Financial Services and Fidelity Life – have put together cash plus shares deal to switch assets worth £315 million belonging to 100,000 savers from Fidelity to Grosvenor.
Both providers are tight-lipped about how much Grosvenor Financial Services are paying into the deal.
If the two funds merge, which is the likely aim, the fund will become New Zealand’s seventh largest Kiwisaver fund manager.
To merge, the schemes have to seek approval from New Zealand’s financial regulator.
No application has been made at this stage, confirmed a Grosvenor spokesman.
Both Kiwisaver funds are listed on HM Revenue and Customs QROPS list as providers – and Fidelity also has the Fidelity Super -Super Plan Number 3 QROPS.
At this stage, how the change of manager will affect the QROPS schemes is not known. The majority of savers in the scheme are New Zealand residents with standard saving schemes rather than QROPS retirement savers.
When the ink has dried on the deal, Grosvenor will take over as Fidelity Kiwisavers issuer and fund manager.
Meanwhile, Fidelity will take a minority shareholding in Grosvenor, of around 10% to 20 %.
New Zealand QROPS
Grosvenor’s managing director Allan Yeo explained that Fidelity customer would see no change while the providers worked out the finer details of the exchange.
“Grosvenor and Fidelity are successful New Zealand businesses in an alliance that lets each focus on their strengths,” he added. “This is a rarity in New Zealand, where most life companies and fund managers are owned by Australian providers.”
New Zealand has proved a popular QROPS destination for British expat retirement savers and international workers with UK pension rights.
Until April 2012, when HM Revenue and Customs changed QROPS rules to exclude hundreds of pension schemes, the nation had 64 QROPS listed.
This dropped to by two-thirds to 23 QROPS, but has risen back to 48 schemes during the past 12 months.
QROPS change hands
New Zealand has a QROPS market share of 1.55% by number of schemes – ranking the financial centre as the ninth largest provider of the schemes out of 46 centres worldwide.
The Grosvenor/Fidelity agreement is the latest in several Kiwisavers changing hands.
Fisher Funds – who run the Fisher Funds Growth KiwiSaver – has taken over Tower, which operated the Tower Freedom Plan and Tower LifeSaver Plan.
Kiwibank bought Gareth Morgan Kiwisaver, while AMP – managers of the AMP KiwiSaver – has also been active, taking over other Kiwisavers.
All the transactions involved a change of ownership for a New Zealand QROPS.