February 24, 2024


Obey Your Finance

The big winners in the finance industry

Sanford chairman Sir Robert McLeod and Skellerup chief executive David Mair were honoured for their leadership at the revamped Institute of Finance Professionals (Infinz) Awards in Auckland last night.

McLeod won the inaugural Māori Leadership in Finance Award, while Mair took home the overall Leadership Award in front of 800 guests gathered to recognise innovation and excellence in New Zealand’s financial sector ecosystem.

The judges noted McLeod’s many roles: he has been lead negotiator for the Ngāti Porou Treaty Settlement Committee, Te Haeata; a commissioner of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission; chair of Aotearoa Fisheries; and a director of Tainui Group Holdings. He was a member of the Capital Markets Taskforce; chaired the New Zealand Business Roundtable from 2002 to 2010; and chaired the Government Tax Review 2001.

Mair transformed Skellerup from a “tired old” manufacturing company to one with a deep knowledge of materials and tooling that is hard to reverse engineer.

“Having a clearly defined sense of purpose and aligning employees to selling systems not components has been a key part of creating a winning culture. The company has recently reported record revenues, profits and dividends and over the last five years, the total shareholder return was some 430 per cent.”

Investment firm Milford Asset Management won the inaugural Diversified Growth Fund Manager Award, having previously won the former NZ Equity Fund Manager Award seven times in the preceding 12 years.

Infinz noted the recent passing of Milford co-founder Brian Gaynor, who was also an Infinz fellow and who helped establish the NZ Society of Investment Analysts, which became Infinz.

Infinz chair Mark Edwards said Gaynor had been a “titan” of New Zealand’s capital markets industry and passed on his condolences to his family and colleagues.

Revamped Awards

Celebrating its 20th year, Infinz significantly refreshed the categories for 2022 – including dropping the prestigious Sharebroker and Sharebroking Firm of the Year awards.

It is understood two major broking firms had withdrawn from participating in those categories.

“Membership now encompasses the broader financial services eco-system which is fulfilling the vision when the Society of Investment Analysts and the Society of Corporate
Treasurers merged in 2002 to create an organisation that had a broader industry focus,” Infinz said.

That reflected the changing shape of the financial services industry including the growth in corporate finance practices, KiwiSaver and innovation including retail investing platforms.

Contemporary themes around ESG (especially diversity, inclusion, and climate change) and
digital transformation were also given more attention.

“The primary goal of the Infinz Awards is to raise standards through recognising and rewarding innovation and excellence. A key criterion is how financial sector participants have added value to their clients and to the wider financial services ecosystem.”

Fifteen awards were given out, with 38 experts having acted as judges, together with leading fund managers and equity analysts.

Revamped awards included ESG, Diversified Fund Managers, Investor Relations and Excellence in Institutional and Corporate Banking. Multiple winners included Contact Energy (for Investor Relations and Debt Market Issue of the Year) and Mercury NZ (for M&A and Excellence in Treasury).

Several awards went to organisations and entities addressing the “E” or environmental of ESG including for New Zealand’s first certified Green Capital Bond/corporate hybrid issue (for best Debt Market Issue awarded to Contact Energy) and Westpac (Excellence in Institutional and Corporate Banking awarded for leading and accelerating sustainable finance).

Several awards addressed the “S” or Social of ESG including that for Innovation (awarded to Community Housing) and for the Whakatane Mill financing (for best Debt Deal) which helped keep that facility open.

Two new Fellows were inducted – Infinz’s executive director Jim McElwain and former Infinz board member Sara Double. The seventh Distinguished Fellowship Award was presented to current Infinz Fellow Garth Ireland.

Full list of winners for the 2022 Infinz Awards:

Craigs Investment Partners: Best Investor Relations Award

Contact Energy

Hunter Campbell: ESG Award


NZX: Research Report of the Year

From Upstairs to Downstairs Trading: Evidence from a highly segmented market
Authors: Jędrzej Białkowski, Sanghyun Hong, Moritz Wagner

Chapman Tripp: Diversified Growth Fund Manager of the Year

Milford Asset Management

PwC: NZ Equity Market Transaction of the Year

EBOS Group’s NZ$845m Placement and Retail Offer
Financial Adviser, Debt Arranger, Sole Lead Manager, Bookrunner and Underwriter: Macquarie

MinterEllisonRuddWatts: M&A Transaction of the Year

Mercury’s NZ$797m acquisition of Tilt Renewables’ New Zealand assets
Joint Financial Advisers: Forsyth Barr, Citigroup Global Capital Markets Australia

BDO: Mid-Market Transaction of the Year

Sale of a majority stake in Fertility Associates Limited
Lead Financial Adviser: Cameron Partners

Fitch Ratings: Innovation in Financial Services

Community Finance: Mainstreaming impact investment

Guardian Trust: NZ Debt Market Issue of the Year

Contact Energy Limited’s NZ$225m Green Capital Bond
Joint Arrangers and Joint Lead Managers: Craigs Investment Partners, Forsyth Barr
Joint Lead Manager and Green Programme Coordinator: BNZ

University of Auckland Business School: Emerging Leader of the Year

Sharesies 3EO: Brooke Roberts, Leighton Roberts, Sonya Williams

Bloomberg: Excellence in Treasury

Mercury NZ

Public Trust: Debt Deal of the Year

Whakatāne Mill Limited debt financing
Borrower: Whakatāne Mill Limited
Debt arranger: BNZ
Lead Financial Adviser: KPMG

Tax Management NZ: Excellence in Institutional and Corporate Banking

Westpac: Excellence in Leading & Accelerating Sustainable Finance

Johnson Partners: Leadership Award

David Mair, Chief Executive Officer, Skellerup Holdings Limited

NZTE: Te Tohu Kahukura Māori Leadership in Finance Award

Sir Robert McLeod


Jim McElwain, executive director of INFINZ for the past 10 years

Sara Double, involved in the Capital Markets in NZ for more than 30 years, with a focus on corporate bonds

Garth Ireland (Distinguished Fellow), executive director of Ireland Wallace & Associates a leader in advocating shareholder value for 35 years.