TSB Community Trust is taking control of Fisher Funds and bringing in a new minority shareholder

TSB Community Trust, the parent of TSB Bank, is moving to take ownership control of Fisher Funds – a move that has been on the cards since it first invested in the company in 2013.

Perhaps less predictable is the fact that after buying out 100%, the TSB Community Trust will then sell a 24.99% shareholding in Fisher Funds to TA Associates, which a media statement announcing the deal described as a global growth private equity firm with extensive funds management experience. 

The intention is that the TA Associates shareholding will subsequently increase to 34% following receipt of required regulatory approvals, leaving the TSB Group with a controlling 66% stake.

No figures were given as to the cost of these transactions by any of the parties. TSB did pay $32.8 million for its initial 26% stake, which then valued Fisher Funds at over $120 million.

That a deal for TSB to take control of Fisher Funds was imminent was made more clear when the founder of the business Carmel Fisher announced late last year she was standing down as managing director. She left the job in May.

With over 270,000 clients and $7 billion under management, Fisher Funds is New Zealand’s 5th largest KiwiSaver provider and 5th largest fund manager overall.

The company made an after-tax profit of $27.9 million in the year to March, up from $24.9 million last year. Its fee income was $69.1 million, up from $66.9 million.

The chair of TSB Group, Hayden Wano, described Fisher Funds as an “iconic” New Zealand business that had built a reputation for excellence in investment management and client service. 

“Our intention is to continue to build on the great business that exists today, adhering to its values and mission of making investing understandable, enjoyable and profitable for New Zealanders. We also are pleased to welcome TA Associates as an investor and partner alongside TSB Community Trust.”

Bruce McLachlan, who became CEO earlier this year after previously being CEO of Co-operative Bank, will be staying in the role and there will be no change to the personnel or operations of the company as a result of this transaction.

Carmel Fisher will remain as a director on the Fisher Funds board.