The NZ Superannuation Fund (NZS) has rotated out its founding role as secretariat of the NZ Corporate Governance Forum (NZCGF) in favour of Mint Asset Management.
Following the duty rollover, Anne-Maree O’Conor, NZS head of responsible investment, has passed the NZCGF chair to Mint executive director, Paul Richardson with Nikko Asset Management general counsel, Hayley Cassidy, serving as deputy.
Launched in July 2015 with 16 NZ institutional investors (representing at the time more than $10 billion of local equities, or 15 per cent of the NZX) as foundation members, the NZCGF had a “two-fold” purpose, O’Connor said at the time.
“Firstly, we want to help institutional investors be aware of good corporate governance practices – it’s for our own education,” she told Investment News NZ in 2015. “And also we want to inform discussions with boards.”
At the end of O’Connor’s two-year term, the NZCGF was now a “recognised body of institutional investors focused on promoting good corporate governance and respect for shareholder rights”, a release announcing Mint’s appointment as secretariat says.
The CGF launch agenda included several high-priority items such as:
- promoting high quality boards, in particular through a focus on board composition including skills, diversity and independence;
- reporting and disclosure, in particular through better disclosure on strategy, risks and conflicts and through fair and accurate communication of financial performance;
- structure and disclosure of executive remuneration (to align with the company’s short and long-term strategic objectives);
- guidelines and rules issued by regulatory bodies.
During O’Connor’s stint as chair the NZCGF had “released a set of best practice corporate governance guidelines for NZ listed companies, made submissions to the review of the NZX corporate governance code, and established member working groups focusing on policy, board quality, remuneration, and reporting”.
“Mint and Richardson, supported by Nikko and Cassidy, will see the Forum through its next phase of development as it continues to raise awareness of global governance trends and good practice amongst companies, regulators and investors for the long-term benefit of the New Zealand market,” the release says.
The NZCGF website now lists 15 as members including the three main Crown Financial Institutions, the country’s two largest fund managers – AMP Capital and ANZ Investments, as well as a range of boutiques in addition to Mint such as Devon, Milford, JMIS, and Forté.