The Institute of Finance Professionals in NZ Inc (INFINZ) hosted 750 guests at its much-anticipated, sold-out, annual black-tie Awards dinner held on Thursday, 25 May 2023, at Shed 10 in Auckland. The primary goal of the INFINZ Awards is to raise standards …
The Institute of Finance Professionals in NZ Inc (INFINZ) hosted 750 guests at its much-anticipated, sold-out, annual black-tie Awards dinner held on Thursday, 25 May 2023, at Shed 10 in Auckland.
The primary goal of the INFINZ Awards is to raise standards through recognising and rewarding innovation and excellence. A key criterion is how financial sector participants have added value to their clients and to the wider financial services ecosystem.
Fifteen awards were made, with 45 experts having acted as judges, together with leading fund managers and equity analysts. The Awards programme was refreshed in 2023, whereby the submitter was required to advise the approach and steps taken to ensure that the transaction, resulted in improved outcomes for the climate and stakeholders, including the environment and society.
Awards which recognised the contribution to advancing ESG included ASB’s win in the Corporate ESG category, with judges noting they are truly living Diversity and inclusion across the business; the winning Research Report which highlighted issues around greenwashing amongst some funds which are being promoted as ESG-focused; and the Māori Leadership Award winner Debbie Birch who has promoted circular economy thinking to maximise the impact for tribal wealth and wellbeing.
Lodestone Energy won two awards for its capital raising to finance its large-scale solar projects. New Zealand Debt Management won the Debt Market Issue Award for its $3bn issue of green bonds which will facilitate the issuance of other green assets. Dean Anderson won the Emerging Leaders Award – he is CEO of fund manager Kernel which recently launched NZ’s first global ESG fund aligned with the Paris Agreement.
Spark won the Excellence in Treasury Award and the judges noted that the organisation’s sustainable finance framework created meaningful incentives to deliver on its ESG commitments. And the winner of the Investor Relations Award was Meridian Energy, Aotearoa’s largest renewable electricity generator.
The winner of the Debt Deal category was Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Incorporated for the Debt facilities of $368m raised to fund purchase of properties from the Crown which provided an intergenerational solution for its property investment objectives and might serve as a precedent for similar Treaty settlement outcomes.
Entities winning across several categories included the debt and equity capital raising for Lodestone as noted above and Milford Asset Management.
Milford Asset Management won the Diversified Growth Fund Manager Award for the second year since it was established, having won the former NZ Equity Fund Manager Award seven times in the preceding 12 years. Last year saw the passing of Milford’s co-founder and long-time INFINZ Fellow, Brian Gaynor.
Two new Fellows were inducted – respected equities market professional Clyde D’Souza, and Cameron Partners co-founder and former Managing Partner, Murdo Beattie. The eighth Distinguished Fellowship Award was presented to current INFINZ Fellow and senior non-executive Director, Mary-Jane (MJ) Daly.
INFINZ’s mission is to help empower a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable New Zealand through improving the capability of New Zealand’s financial sector ecosystem and of its members.
INFINZ is the professional body for all those in finance-related roles and working in the financial services ecosystem. Members include bankers, treasurers, company directors, fund managers, regulators, service providers, lawyers, corporate financiers and academics.
Value is provided through practitioner-focused education and networking opportunities across the ecosystem. Over the last eight years, total membership has more than doubled to more than 2,000 professionals, with the number of those under 40 quadrupling. This cohort now accounts for 57% of the total membership.
2023 INFINZ AWARDS WINNER CITATIONS
Link Market Services: Best Investor Relations Award
Meridian Energy: Fund managers and sharebroker analysts believe the company has both executed well and kept the market well-briefed on its strategy. The monthly operational statistics allow investors to track profit in real time. The company’s presentations give a good insight into the issues and opportunities faced by the market. The company is also always available for analyst site visits.
BusinessNZ: Corporate ESG Award
ASB Bank: The judges said the winner evidenced how they are truly living and breathing Corporate ESG, Diversity and inclusion across the business. It was a pleasure hearing directly from staff and customers how this is impacting them and their businesses in positive and meaningful ways and the judges felt it went well beyond being just a box-ticking exercise.
NZX: Research Report of the Year
“In Holdings We Trust: Uncovering the ESG Fund Lemons” Authored by Lachie McLean, Ivan Diaz-Rainey, Sebastian Gehricke and Renzhu Zhang: The judges said the winning paper somewhat surprisingly identifies that many of the Australasian ESG funds actually exhibit a carbon intensity across their portfolios that is little different from non ESG named funds. The paper contributes to the debate about whether investors are being well-informed about the true nature of the ESG funds and suggests a considerable amount of “greenwashing” is occurring in order to attract investors.
Chapman Tripp: Diversified Growth Fund Manager of the Year
Milford Asset Management: 2022 proved an extremely challenging year for fund managers. While performance was negative across the board for the fund managers under consideration, the judges were most concerned with relative performance. Under this lens, there was one fund manager which stood out from the pack, Milford Asset Management.
PwC: NZ Equity Market Transaction of the Year
Air New Zealand $1.2b (200% of issued capital) renounceable rights offer. Joint Lead Managers and Underwriters: UBS, Citigroup. Joint Lead Manager: Forsyth Barr: The winning capital raise was the largest and most significant ECM transaction (by value) in 2022, and the third largest ever in NZ. The long-awaited capital restructure of Air New Zealand provided the airline with the financial stability to move into a recovery phase post the disruption of COVID-19.
Invest New Zealand: Te Tohu Kahukura Māori Leadership in Finance Award
Debbie Birch: In selecting the winner of this prestigious award the judges feel compelled to acknowledge the outstandingly high quality of all the short-listed candidates in Tracey Hook, Jamie Rihia and Debbie Birch….but there can be only one winner. When the winner returned to New Zealand from her international roles she made a conscious decision to connect to her whakapapa and focus her energy on supporting iwi organisations to grow. She has encouraged circular economy thinking to grow wealth, maximise the impact for tribal members and focus on the long term greater good.Her projects include establishing the Te Tuia Tapapa fund, Raukawa ki te Tonga sustainable housing and Chairing Iwi Investor.
MinterEllisonRuddWatts: M&A Transaction of the Year
The Merger of Tourism Holdings and Apollo Tourism & Leisure. Acquirer: Tourism Holdings. Financial adviser: Jarden: The winning transaction displayed uniqueness, complexity and was well-received by investors. This was a rare example of an NZX-listed company successfully completing a scrip-for-scrip acquisition of an ASX-listed company by way of a Scheme of Arrangement. Furthermore, over the year it took to complete, the acquirer’s aggregated market capitalisation grew 82% to $788m, with the legacy shareholders receiving a 29% uplift in the pre-announcement share price.
Tax Management NZ: Mid-Market Debt Transaction of the Year
Lodestone Energy: Subordinated Debt Financing Borrower: Lodestone. Lead Manager: Jarden. Funder: IFM Investors: The winner navigated complicated stakeholder interests, volatile markets, and a nascent contractor and financing understanding. The perseverance and the degree of structuring around the subordinated debt tranche was both innovative and ground-breaking, with the “retail” offtake ensuring a bankable deal. The outcome has the potential to disrupt elements of the electricity market and lead sector change.
BDO: Mid-Market Equity Transaction of the Year
Lodestone Energy, Series B Equity Raise. Issuer: Lodestone. Sole Financial adviser: Jarden: The winning transaction distinguished itself in both complexity and circumstance. Specifically, it involved the negotiation and settlement of a significant structured equity raise for an early-stage, pre-revenue entity contemporaneous with debt, procurement, construction and offtake contracts. The successful capital raise has positioned the entity to contribute meaningfully to the transition towards renewable energy.
Fitch Ratings: Innovation in Financial Services
Sharesies – Changing the way retail investors participate in capital raises: The winning innovation used the organisation’s existing business model and technology to develop a new product experience for investors. It displayed a good use of technology and platform and used a modern product build approach. The winning innovation had a good grounding in both the needs of investors and of the companies seeking capital.
Computershare: NZ Debt Market Issue of the Year
Issuer: New Zealand Debt Management. Issue: $3b Senior Unsecured Fixed Rate Green Bonds. Joint Lead Managers: ANZ, BNZ, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Westpac. Green Bond Framework: Joint Structuring Advisers: BNZ, Deutsche Bank: The judges said the winner was a benchmark transaction that was the first issuance of what will likely be a build-out of a Green Bond curve in NZ. A liquid interest rate curve will likely attract a more diversified investor base for NZ Green bonds which should benefit all NZ issuers as this issue will help anchor the pricing for other green assets.
Hunter Campbell: Emerging Leader of the Year
Dean Anderson, Kernel: Starting from scratch in 2018, the winner has led his firm to become a successful retail fund manager, with $0.5bn funds under management, and 33 employees. As the fund has become more established, its impact on the wider industry has grown, as has his own personal profile. The manager has, for example, pushed the market forward in areas like ESG with the launch of NZ’s first Global ESG fund aligned to the Paris Agreement.
Public Trust: Debt Deal of the Year
Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Incorporated: Debt facilities of $368m to fund purchase of properties from the Crown. Transacting entity: Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Inc. Mandated Lead Arrangers: Armillary Private Capital, JP Morgan, Craigs Investment Partners. Lenders: ANZ, BNZ, Booster, Fisher Funds, Rotomā No.1 Incorporation, Westpac: The winning transaction not only solved a capital market holy grail in monetising Government cash flows, it also wrapped responsible risk management around the effective economic life of the debt in terms of mitigating interest rate risk. It also provided an intergenerational solution to the client’s property investment objectives and may serve as a precedent for similar Treaty settlement outcomes.
Bloomberg: Excellence in Treasury
Spark: The judges noted the strong innovation and best practice demonstrated by the winning treasury team. They have implemented programmes to create long-term shareholder value with well-articulated frameworks in capital management. The judges considered the corporate’s sustainable finance framework to be of high quality and that it creates meaningful incentives for the organisation to deliver on its ESG commitments.
Johnson Partners: Leadership Award
Managing Director and CEO of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Lewis Gradon: The winning CEO was appointed in 2016 and the total shareholder return of the company he leads over the five years to 31 December 2022 was 33% over and above the cost of equity. During his 38-year tenure, this CEO has held various engineering positions and overseen development of its manufacturing, quality, intellectual property, and supply chain activities. The company holds a strong global market position and has a pipeline of products generated by a long-term commitment to R&D totalling 12% of sales. This company has been one of the best-performing stocks on the NZ share market over an extended period, with the previous CEO also having been recognised with a Johnson Partners Leadership Award.
Clyde D’Souza: Clyde has been an active participant in the New Zealand equity capital markets for nearly 40 years. He was a member of the INFINZ Board for nine years, with active participation including as a Takeover Awards Member Judge, an INFINZ Mentor, and member of the INFINZ Advocacy Committee. He was previously a Board Member of NZ Society of Investment Analysts, one of the INFINZ predecessor organisations. His contribution to public policy has also included being a member of both the NZ Accounting Standards Board and the NZ Audit & Assurance Standards Board. Through these roles and his advocacy skills and understanding of the equities market in particular, Clyde has helped shape key elements of the regulatory framework that prevail today.
Murdo Beattie: Murdo is one of New Zealand’s most experienced and respected investment bankers and was the co-founding partner of Cameron Partners in 1995, alongside Rob Cameron. He was a member of the New Zealand Takeovers Panel for 10 years from 2008 to 2018. He was a strong contributor of strategic thinking and provided support to the work led by Rob Cameron as Chairman of the New Zealand Capital Markets Taskforce, established in 2008. Murdo has also trained, managed and provided guidance to many of New Zealand’s capital market participants and directors in their careers. He gives a lot of time to helping younger people develop their careers and make choices in their university pathways.
Mary-Jane (MJ) Daly: MJ is an experienced non-executive Director and presently chairs AIG and the Fonterra Shareholders Fund and also serves on the Kiwibank and Kiwi Property boards. MJ previously chaired EQC and the New Zealand Green Building Council. Her last corporate executive role was as Executive General Manager at State Insurance, following a career in CFO, treasury and institutional banking roles, both in New Zealand and in the UK. An INFINZ member since inception and of one the predecessor organisations, the New Zealand Society of Corporate Treasurers, she served on the board from 2005-2010, including as Chair of the Conference Committee. MJ has been a long-standing judge of the INFINZ awards including of the Excellence in Treasury Award and is the incoming chair of the panel which judges the Leadership Award. She has served as a role model and inspiration for women seeking to build their careers in banking, finance and governance. MJ is also a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors.