The NZX has confirmed it is in talks with start-up Australian investment researcher, mfund Research, to supply qualitative reports on local fund managers.
Tim Bennett, NZX chief, told Investment News NZ (IN NZ) the firm was “working through a process” with mfunds, a research business founded this year by ex Lonsec research manager, Darren Howlin.
“We want to produce quantitative research [via NZX research arm FundSource],” Bennett said. “And it would be useful to have qualitative coverage from someone independent of the NZX – much like our arrangement with Edison Investment Research for the NXT market.”
Howlin, who led the Lonsec charge in New Zealand (including a KiwiSaver research program) prior to the Australian researcher’s exit from the NZ retail market last year, said negotiations with the NZX were close to completion.
(However, Lonsec, via subsidiary SuperRatings retains a KiwiSaver research business.)
If signed-off, the NZX arrangement with mfund, first reported here, would fill the gap left by the closure of FundSource’s in-house qualitative research arm in May.
FundSource struck a deal in May with UK-based data provider Financial Express to supply quantitative data on NZ funds, with the NZX-owned entity acting as a middleman.
The researcher’s switch to a quant-only service left Morningstar as the sole supplier of qualitative research in the New Zealand fund market. Morningstar subsequently down-sized its New Zealand presence to focus on “New Zealand financial institutions, most of which are headquartered in Australia”.
Meanwhile, Sam Stanley, former head of exchange products, has finished his four-year stint with the NZX to take up a new role as wealth adviser with First New Zealand Capital in Wellington.
Stanley said he looked forward to working directly with clients and completing his Authorised Financial Adviser (AFA) studies.
“I’m leaving the NZX on good terms,” he said. “But it was time to take up a new challenge.”
Stanley joined the NZX in 2011 as head of business strategy and sales before taking up the head of exchange products role in 2013.