Nikko Asset Management’s newly-appointed independent director would provide valuable insight into financial technology opportunities as well as access to the upper echelons of the country’s high net worth networks, according to head of the NZ business, George Carter.
Carter said Tracey Jones, named as Nikko NZ independent non-executive director last week, had a “skill-set that complements” the fund manager’s current capabilities.
“As a director [peer-to-peer lender] Harmoney, Tracey is sitting on the cutting edge of technological changes that all of us in the financial services industry need to be aware of,” he said. “Disruption and digital solutions are increasingly becoming a part of the landscape.”
For example, Carter said Nikko had recently submitted on the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) proposal to fast-track the NZ robo-advice market with a class exemption. He said the FMA exemption – that will allow robo-advice to operate in NZ prior to the introduction of a new law formally legalising the process – was “probably the right way to do it”.
“There needs to be a level playing field so the industry can move in lock-step rather than in a higgledy-piggledy way,” Carter said.
In addition to her Harmoney role, Jones is also director of the recently-rearranged New Plymouth Council Perpetual Investment Fund (PIF) and the Rob Campbell investment vehicle, Tutanekai Investments.
This April she also recently-launched a family office consultancy business, Jones Family Office Partners. Previously, Jones served in various roles, including the dual roles of chief financial officer and chief operating officer, with one of NZ’s largest family office, Tappenden Holdings, from 2000 until 2015.
Carter said her family office knowledge would bring a “different dynamic” to the Nikko NZ board.
Nikko NZ is more renowned as an institutional investment manager – albeit with a fast-growing retail presence that broke through the $1 billion mark last year, or about 20 per cent of the group’s $5 billion plus funds under management.
In a statement Jones said: “Nikko is a business that demonstrates its drive to innovate in a constantly growing and evolving industry. I’m truly excited to start working with an industry acclaimed and award winning team, helping shape the future of the business.”
This week Nikko also hosts its annual ‘Foreword Forum’ event in Wellington and Auckland on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. The forum features keynote speaker, Catherine Wood, head of Ark Investments, the boutique exchange-traded fund firm the Nikko parent company took a 15 per cent stake in earlier this month.