Oct 01 2020

Garrison Bridge tops $100 million under management


“Best kept secret” zero rate PIE and Covid-19 helping to boost new flows.

New Zealand QROPS retirement scheme Garrison Bridge has seen its funds under management more than triple over the last 18 months to top the $100 million mark.

Dual-registered in New Zealand and Australia, the Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) specialises in UK pension transfers, including carrying out some Irish transfers, and reached $105 million funds under management this month .

Garrison Bridge director Dai Eveleigh says the Covid-19 lockdown had given the fund an unexpected boost, causing an increase in enquiries from recent returnees to New Zealand.

“What we saw during the lockdown was that people had more time to get their affairs in order, so we did see a spike in enquiries,” says Eveleigh.

Also, where previously expats would take two to three years to move their pensions after settling here, the border closures meant people were now keen to do this sooner.

“We’re seeing inflows of about $3 million a month now,” Eveleigh says.

Ralph Stewart, the managing director and founder of Garrison Bridge’s parent company, the Retirement Income Group, says the scheme’s ability to offer the zero rate PIE (portfolio investment entity) for ‘transitional’ tax residents has provided the real boon.

The fact it was one of only three such providers in the country able to offer the zero rate provided a significant advantage as it gave expats a four-year period to sort out their pension savings once they arrived, Stewart says.
Eveleigh describes the zero rate PIE as “the best kept secret”.

“Not many people know about the zero-rate tax advantage that they get from that. Many financial advisers focus on one or two schemes and don’t necessarily look at others, so many aren’t aware of this,” he says.
The fact investors could hold their money in Great British Pounds (GBP) while waiting for a better exchange rate was also beneficial, Stewart says.

“We offer both a GBP growth and a GBP conservative fund in pounds Stirling. While Brexit is still in a mess, we’re seeing a lot of investors continuing to invest in pounds while Brexit is being sorted out in the hope that the currency will improve.”

These factors had all helped build on the growth achieved when the company purchased the closed NZ Endeavour Fund in the first half of 2019, boosting funds under management from $30 million to $80 million.

Stewart says it is aiming to double its funds under management again over the next two to three years.

“Garrison Bridge is a simple transparent superannuation scheme backed by a well-known manager specialising in retirement solutions and we think it has great potential.

“In addition to organic growth, we would also consider purchasing another closed book if the opportunity arose.”

Garrison Bridge was launched in late 2016 and is regulated by the Financial Markets Authority in NZ, registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in Australia and offered in Australia under the Mutual Recognition Scheme. Funds are invested with Simplicity NZ, Vanguard Asset Management, BlackRock Asset Management and TAM Asset Management. Investments can be made in NZD, AUD or GBP and lump sum withdrawals and income drawdown are available.

Written by: Sonia Speedy

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