Former Reserve Bank of NZ (RBNZ) governor and almost-Prime Minister, Don Brash, has joined the board overseeing Hastings-based financial advisory business, Stewart Group, and related entity, the Boutique Advisers Alliance (BAA).
Brash, who led the RBNZ for a 14-year stretch ending in April 2002, joins former Fidelity Life chief, Milton Jennings, and Australian financial planning dealer group head, Peter Mancell, on the Stewart/BAA board.
In a statement, Stewart group chief, Nick Stewart, said Brash’s RBNZ experience would “add valuable perspective to our Advisory Board”.
“Our Advisory Board members are selected for their integrity and compatibility with our values,” Stewart said. “They use their best judgement and expertise to offer sound advice and their collective opinion to the directors and management team of Stewart Group and associated company Boutique Advisers Alliance.”
Launched in 2015, the BAA currently comprises five members – including the Stewart Group – who typically follow the ‘structured passive’ philosophy of US-based investment firm Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA). Previous BAA member, Cliffe Consulting, recently left the group.
The BAA, which provides model portfolios – including discretionary investment management service (DIMS) offerings – as well as back-office support and discounted third-party services, represents about $350 million under management. Early this year the BAA shifted its assets from the ASB-owned Aegis to a bespoke administration platform built by FNZ.
Stewart Group also serves as consultant to the Booster Asset Class range of KiwiSaver funds (mostly invested via Dimensional), which are closing in on $80 million under management. The firm holds a DIMS licence, an accreditation under the global Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) advice assurance brand, and is a foundation member of the Geneva-based Global Association of Independent Advisors (GAIA).
Brash said in the statement: “I’ve had a lot to do with the financial sector for most of my career, but few companies have so impressed me with their integrity and professionalism.”
After leaving the RBNZ he spent five years in Parliament as a National Party member, including three as leader of the opposition. Following a narrow loss in the 2005 election, Brash ultimately was ousted as National leader in 2006 by John Key, resigning his list seat early the next year. He attempted to resurrect his political career as leader of the Act Party in 2011 before exiting soon after a dismal election result in the same year.
As well as his current role as chair of the NZ arm of the world’s biggest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Brash has previously served on the board of other financial entities including ANZ, Westpac Merchant Finance, and the now-defunct Huljich Wealth Management.