Meet the people who manage your money

Maaike Van Tol

Ever wondered about the people who manage your money and what they do? We talk to Maaike Van Tol, Head of Asset Allocation at ANZ Investments.

Maaike, how long have you been with ANZ?

I’ve worked at ANZ for eight years now, with the last four and a half years spent in my current role. Before ANZ I was at ING Investment Management in the Netherlands, designing asset allocations for large defined-benefit pension plans. 

What do you like about your role?

It’s incredibly rewarding to help people grow their wealth to prepare for retirement, save for a home, or achieve another financial goal. It’s not just about helping Kiwis become wealthier, but more financially resilient, too. 

My role has a long-term lens, where we consider which asset classes we should include in portfolios; but it also looks at the near-term, where we consider how investments are likely to perform in the current environment. That can be challenging, but it never stops being interesting.

What does your role involve? What do you do on a daily basis? 

Together with my team, we’re responsible for designing and managing the different diversified funds and portfolios we offer for KiwiSaver investors and Private Bank clients, as well as retail and wholesale investors. 

This involves setting the strategic asset allocations (the long-term mix of asset classes) in each of the diversified funds we manage, and tactical asset allocation (the adjustments we make to better position portfolios for the current market environment). 

My day starts with checking the markets, working out what’s happened overnight, and reading research. If markets have moved or we’ve changed our view around how we should be positioned, we’ll instruct the implementation team to adjust the portfolios. We also have ad hoc discussions and regular meetings with our colleagues across Australasian equities and property, fixed income, and FX strategy.

What makes you proud to work for ANZ Investments?

ANZ is New Zealand’s largest non-government owned fund manager, and we help more than 650,000 clients build their wealth – from the very young to the very old. It’s rewarding work. 

What do you feel makes ANZ Investments different from other fund managers?

Our scale gives us phenomenal depth and breadth of expertise. Not only do we have a large team in Auckland managing domestic investments, but we also have access to some of the best international investment managers and experts in the world.

How have you seen the industry change over the years? 

Over the last five years, we’ve had a trade war, a global pandemic, war in Europe, and an inflation shock – all of which have had a profound impact on the investment landscape. 

There’s also a much stronger focus on climate change and the risks and opportunities this presents. It means we need to carefully consider the impact of climate change on the asset classes and regions we invest in. 

Assets under management have grown significantly in recent times, along with the number of fund managers in New Zealand. However, KiwiSaver is outpacing the growth of the New Zealand share market, which means investment managers need to have a strong international proposition to be successful going forward. 

As the industry grows, the standard rises – requiring robust systems, better use of technology, and great talent. The investment landscape also continues to grow, which can provide exposure to a wider range of investments and better risk-adjusted returns.

What’s your own attitude to investing? 

I’d describe myself as more of a growth investor than conservative. I invest in diversified funds, which my team and I manage – every payday a small amount is automatically invested. If markets fall and I have spare savings, I’ll invest at that time as well. 

The idea behind this approach is that investing over decades grows into a larger pot than trying to build wealth in the last few years of working. Investing after a market shock (when other investors are selling) can produce better returns over time, too. 

KiwiSaver has become an important component of Kiwis’ wealth; my husband and I make use of the member tax credits and employer contributions. I worked in the Netherlands and there’s a lot of complexity in the Dutch pension system – by contrast, our KiwiSaver scheme here in New Zealand is simple and well-designed, and its growth has helped broaden and improve the quality of other managed funds. 

Finally, what do you like to do outside of work? 

I like spending time with my family – we play golf, or (depending on the season) we’ll head to the beach or the snow.

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