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Fisher Funds directors share $10.3 million dividend pot

Thursday 4th August 2016

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Fisher Funds Management, which manages $6.9 billion on behalf of more than 250,000 investors, almost doubled the dividend paid to its owners in the last financial year, with directors sharing a dividend pot of $10.3 million, its annual report shows. 

The total dividend payment rose to $30 million from $16 million, a rise of just over 46 percent. It is the equivalent of $1,982 per share. Some 34 percent of the company or 5,219 shares are held by directors. The annual report shows that the directors sold 2,046 shares to TSB Group Investments, suggesting a dividend payment of just over $4 million. 

North Shore-based Fisher Funds is New Zealand's fifth-largest manager of funds and the fifth-biggest provider of KiwiSaver products. Funds under management grew to $6.9 billion from $6.6 billion in the 2015 financial year, a rise of 4.3 percent. The average KiwiSaver balance grew to $10,500 from $9,400. In the 12 months ended July 31, its New Zealand Growth Fund was the best performer in its portfolio, rising 20.1 percent, according to the Fisher Funds website.

The fund manager's income from fees rose 8.8 percent to $66.8 million in the 12 months ended March 31, with performance fees rising 38.6 percent to $8.7 million.  

Net profit rose 10.1 percent to $24.8 million while debt fell to about $26 million from $32 million, a drop of 19 percent as Fisher's switched its banker to Bank of New Zealand from ANZ Bank New Zealand and moved to borrowing at a floating rate, rather than a fixed rate. The fund manager's cash fell to $2.9 million at the March 31 balance date from $9.2 million a year earlier.

Fisher Funds also manages three investment companies that are listed on the NZX, Kingfish, which focuses on New Zealand companies, Barramundi, which targets Australian companies, and Marlin Global, which invests in businesses in the rest of the world. 

The Kingfish management contract attracted a performance fee of $1.21 million, paid in shares and cash. The value of shares in Kingfish have risen 11 percent over the past 12 months, compared to a 16 percent rise in the S&P/NZX All Index over the same period. 

Shares in Barramundi have risen by 7.1 percent, compared to a fall of 3.4 percent for the S&P/ASX 200 Index. Shares in Marlin have fallen 3.9 percent, compared to a fall of 1.7 percent for the FTSE 100 in London, a rise of 2.6 percent for the Standard & Poor's 500 in New York and a fall of 22 percent for Japan's Nikkei 225 Index. The company does not break down how senior employees are paid, but directors and key management personnel received $3.20 million in the financial year, a slight fall from the $3.28 million a year earlier. 

Managing director Carmel Fisher wasn't immediately available for comment.

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