Mint Asset Management has a further independent director waiting in the wings, according to chief executive officer, Rebecca Thomas.
Last week Mint appointed Mark Todd as board chairman, replacing Paul Richardson, the firm’s chief investment officer, who had held the role since last August.
Richardson took up the job temporarily following the resignation of Pip Dunphy, who had been a Mint board member since 2007 and chair from 2009.
Dunphy is currently a director of the Fonterra Shareholders Fund, Abano Healthcare and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. She has also held board positions with Solid Energy and the NZX-owned NZ Clearing and Depository.
Former Bell Gully partner specialising in funds management, Todd co-founded anti-money laundering compliance business AML Solutions in 2012. He is also a director of Westpac Life and, along with Thomas, a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) board member.
Thomas said with the appointment of Todd and the other as-yet unnamed independent director, Mint would be meeting new managed investment scheme (MIS) governance standards required under the Financial Markets Conduct Act (FMC).
Fund managers have until December 2016 to comply with FMC licensing conditions.
To date, seven managers have been handed MIS licenses with Grosvenor and Mercer the latest two to join the ranks.
Thomas highlighted board independence as a wider New Zealand corporate issue at last month’s Portfolio Construction Forum event in a presentation titled ‘Engaging NZ companies on governance will improve outcomes’.
She said the lack of true independent directors, too many instances of multiple directorships (ie on five or more boards), long tenure and skewed nomination criteria created potential governance issues for many New Zealand firms.
Thomas said investors needed to adopt a “long term engagement approach” to lift governance standards of NZ corporates.
In addition to her Mint and FMA roles, Thomas is also a KiwiRail director.
Mint has over $300 million under management “and is on a significant growth path”, the release announcing Todd’s appointment says.