Australian exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider BetaShares has taken on Thom Bentley as its first NZ-based employee.
The fast-growing BetaShares had been trying to recruit in NZ since at least 2018 after several fly-in-fly-out forays this side of the Tasman.
As reported here, Bentley resigned last week as head of institutional for Smartshares after almost three years with the NZX-owned fund business.
Officially, BetaShares director adviser and institutional business NZ, he started work for the Australian ETF machine this week.
Established in 2009 by chief Alex Vynokur, BetaShares now offers about 60 ASX-listed products covering multiple asset classes and strategies with over $16 billion in funds under management as at the end of February this year.
In March this year, US private equity firm TA Associates acquired a majority stake in BetaShares after buying out the 51 per cent shareholder – the South Korean Mirae Asset Management – plus other interests for a reported price-tag of up to A$500 million.
Most BetaShares funds are offered to NZ investors under the trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition regime. However, BetaShares does not yet offer products built specifically for the NZ market.
During his stint at Smartshares, Bentley helped grow the NZX fund footprint in the institutional market including winning at least one KiwiSaver mandate. As at the end of March, Smartshares reported over $5.4 billion in funds under management, of which about $4.5 billion came via the range of NZX-listed ETFs.
Meanwhile, Smartshares chief, Hugh Stevens, is co-chairing a new investment and KiwiSaver committee for industry lobby group, the Financial Services Council.
Stevens and Nigel Jackson, Westpac acting head of investments, share leadership of the new panel, which regularly convenes the CEOs of FSC member firms with KiwiSaver and investment interests.
In addition to all major NZ banks, the FSC investment-leaning membership includes AMP, Mercer, Generate, Milford and Smartshares.
Richard Klipin, FSC chief, said the group meets every couple of months to nut out strategic issues facing the sector.
“They will be looking at things such as how to grow the market overall as well as building relationships with government and regulators,” Klipin said. “Plus they’ll discuss more nuanced industry issues.”
Elsewhere last week, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) named former Labour MP Steve Maharey as board chair, replacing long-time incumbent, Paula Rebstock.
Maharey formally took up an ACC director role on May 1 with his ascendance to the chair scheduled for July 31 when Rebstock retires.
ACC Minister, Carmel Sepuloni, said in a release: “Dame Paula and the Board have overseen the much-needed transformation and modernisation of ACC’s culture, processes, information and technology. It has allowed ACC to make significant progress in improving how it delivers services to Kiwis in the 21st Century.”
Over the last couple of years, Rebstock has also overseen a revamp of the ACC fund’s investment strategy with a growing tilt to ‘decarbonisation’ of the portfolio:
Last year, the $53 billion plus fund sold down about $50 million of fossil fuel intensive stocks – mostly ASX-listed firms – and added $200 million in renewable energy investments, for example.
In June 2020, Rebstock said: “As stewards of the ACC scheme, and by placing a focus on environmental sustainability and reducing carbon emissions, we’re demonstrating our obligation to the wellbeing of future generations.”
During her tenure the veteran ACC chief investment officer, Nicholas Bagnall, also resigned while retaining a $1.5 billion plus global equities mandate with his former employer. Bagnall left the ACC in November 2019 to establish boutique wholesale investment firm, Te Ahumairangi Investment Management (TAIM). Under the terms of the deal, TAIM had a one-year exclusivity arrangement with the ACC fund, due to expire in the third quarter of this year.