April 12, 2019 / 3:36 AM / 2 months ago

CORRECTED-AustralianSuper withdraws equities mandate from Fidelity International

(Corrects 5th paragraph to say mandate withdrawal was last year, not 2019)

SYDNEY, April 12 (Reuters) - Australia’s largest pension fund has withdrawn a mandate from Fidelity International’s local equities fund as part of its efforts to cut costs by managing stocks internally, the Australian Financial Review reported on Friday.

AustralianSuper plans to manage half of its A$140 billion ($99.8 billion) equities, fixed income, infrastructure and property portfolios in-house by 2023, rather than relying on external managers. [reut.rs/2U8u2li ]

Media representatives for Fidelity and AustralianSuper declined to comment.

AustralianSuper’s internal equities team has taken control of the stocks associated with the former mandate, and will adjust its holdings in line with its own allocations, the paper said.

The nonprofit superannuation, or retirement, fund has said it is a big supporter of so-called “internalisation of investments” to cut costs, and last year also withdrew a mandate from local fund manager Yarra Capital Management.

The giant pension fund allocates money to 10 other firms managing portfolios of Australian shares, according to its website.

It had kept administration charges for its 2.2 million clients fixed at A$1.50 per week for the last decade before doubling it in January. [reut.rs/2U8u2li ]

The move was controversial given its for-profit competitors are facing pressure to lower charges following a misconduct inquiry that exposed excessive fees across the sector.

The year-long inquiry into Australia’s financial sector found that some fund managers within the country’s compulsory A$2.7 trillion pension system were overcharging while delivering poor returns. ($1 = 1.4031 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Paulina Duran; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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